*DISCLAIMER: never eat mushrooms you forage unless you are 100 percent certain they are exactly what you’re looking for. There are some “fakes” out there – ones that look like the real deal but are poisonous. Do your research and don’t get sick. For the love of all that is fungi, don’t die from eating bad mushrooms.
Now’s the time. Morels are a delicacy, I don’t care what you say. They’re unique in that they can’t be cultivated; they’re only found in the wild. If this all sounds very whimsical and mysterious, good, that’s the point. Finding a morel is always exciting, and mushroom hunters (should) always squeal and say, “I found one,” each and every time.
I’m sure there are lots of wild mushrooms one can forage, but I’ve only searched for morels. They are found in the mountains around this time of year (mid-spring). The weather is important to watch. Ideal morel-growing weather seems to occur when it has rained and then turned quite warm. This is when we’ve had the best luck. When that combination happens, head to the mountain. Mushrooms can be found everywhere in our region: Deary, Waha, Moscow, Fields Spring, you name it. They grow well around dead trees and in burned areas. This is what you’re looking for:
don’t consider this an expert source. Yes, we ate these and yes they were delicious, but if you have any doubts about what you pick, do more research.
Once you find that little gem, cut it or pinch it at the base — don’t pull it out entirely or it won’t grow back.
(I screwed this up and tore it out from it’s root…Danny is showing how to do it right the first time)
Transport mushrooms in a bag with holes. I know, that makes no sense, right? Go to the dollar store and buy a mesh laundry bag or a lingerie bag something with holes small enough that your mushrooms won’t fall out. I’m 80 percent sure this has to do with spores or something, and 20 percent sure I’m just really gullible and believe what everyone tells me all the time. Someone once told me that if you carry mushrooms in a bag with holes, it helps them spread. Is it true? Not sure, but can’t hurt.
Morels grow like crazy when the weather and climate is perfect. If you find success at a specific spot, don’t think you’re done there for the year — go back the next weekend, and you’ll likely find more.
Once you have your mushrooms, how do you prepare them? Soak them in salt water for at least 15 minutes to get rid of bugs and dirt, then place them in a colander and shake them up a bit. Lay them in a single layer on a paper towel to dry, and then you’re ready.
My family’s favorite ways to eat our mushrooms are deep fried and in a white cream wine sauce. But morels could be made into soup, sautéd with garlic — the world is your mushroom (did anyone think that was as clever as I did?) Enjoy.