not looking to test and risk it, but found what LOOK like winter chanterelles in the woods behind a friends house. any tips on how to make a certain match?
All mushrooms are edible--once.
Sometimes, Sam, you just kill me.
If you have not been trained in identifying mushrooms, you need someone who has been to identify the mushrooms.
Even experienced foragers die every year from making a bad choice. In California there is a significant risk in the Asian communities because the mushroom hunters will pick something that looks like something they ate back home, maybe China ---- except that it's not.
I agree that identifying mushrooms on an anonymous hotline is not the way to go, particularly without location information. But since lauragushtv has already said she's not planning on risking eating them, I don't see why we can't share a little information.
The key to identifying chanterelles is learning to distinguish their ridges from some look-alikes with gills. In particular, there's a mushroom called the the jack-o-lantern, which has sharp gills that an unexperienced forager might mistake for ridges. Chanterelle ridges are forked, and that's a way to distinguish them from gills.
Another distinguishing trait is growth pattern. For example, jack-o-lanterns grow in dense clumps, which chanterelles never do. But they do grow in clusters, so learning to distinguish a clump from a cluster would be another lesson.
Foraging for wild mushrooms can be fun and delicious, and chanterelles can be safely identified. The way to get started is to learn directly from an expert. A LOCAL expert, as pierino pointed out.
Chanterelles don't have classic gills, they have folds which tend to be forked or cross-veined. When you break a chanterelle in half the flesh is solid. The false chanterelle mushrooms have true gills and are hollow when you break them in half. I suggest you get a good mushroom ID guide or join a local mycological society if you're interested in foraging for mushrooms. Also practice identification for awhile before you decide to eat what you find - chanterelles are pretty easy to learn, as are hedgehogs, morels, and bear's head or lion's mane type mushrooms - but many other edible ones are trickier.