I’ve spent a lot of time in my life trudging through underbrush. Getting poison ivy, countless scratches, bug bites, and covered in ticks. Why would I do this? What drives me back to this torture year after year?
Morels… Delicious, delicious morels.
And guess what. It’s that time of year again. To be absolutely honest, it is getting towards the end of that time of year for me and I am coming up wanting.
You see morels, are not a year-round available mushroom. Sure you can go to the store and get some freeze dried ones, but those are only good in sauces, and even then you are only getting a shadow of what a true morel tastes like.
But I get ahead of myself. Some of you may have never even seen a morel, let alone eaten them. So what is all the hubbub about?
The morel (Morchella spp.) is a small to medium, with the occasional giant, saprophytic fungus that generally grows in the detritus of a wooded area (old apple orchards, and decaying elm trees are generally strong bets). Although, they regularly are seen popping up in pastures, along roadsides, and even in people’s yards.
They are recognizable by their strongly pitted conical cap, which is often a pale ocher but can vary anywhere from there to a dark grey, sitting atop a white stalk to light tan stalk.
Morels grow in singles, but also in pair, and small clumps, and even large groups.
Have you noticed a pattern in their growth yet? No? Yeah, me either. Small to large, grow in tree decay but sometimes in pastures, grow singly or in large numbers, they are an elusive beast.
Honestly, they aren’t usually elusive. Once you find morels, if you harvest them responsibly by cutting them at the base of their stalk instead of pulling them, you can generally return every year for more.
Combining this with the level of deliciousness, and you get a whole society of mushroom hunters with their own secret spots. Sometimes you can get in good with somebody, and they will take you out hunting… But unless you are very close you will probably never know where their special secret spots are.
Every year you will see these people return with buckets upon buckets of morels. So many, that every spring you will be able to buy fresh morels at local farmers markets and even on Ebay; but not cheap.
So really unless you have extra cash laying around, your best bet is to get out and hunt for them. The delicious reward is well worth any scratches you will find yourself with.
Plus, you get to be out in nature so even if you don’t succeed in finding morels you can enjoy the world.
**EVEN THOUGH MORELS ARE AN EASILY IDENTIFYABLE MUSHROOM, DO NOT EAT UNLESS YOU ARE %100 YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE.**