|Home||Morel Mushrooms||Beyond the Morel||Our Forums||Reports||About us|
|Links||Identify Morels||Photo stories||Morel Humor||Contact us||Misc pages|
Morels... I Love 'em!
I'm serenaded by wild turkeys.
Before we go any further, let me set the record
straight. I am NOT an expert! Hey it's just me. Your
buddy Frank. But I do know that the correct spelling of these mushrooms
is Morel (pronounced MORE-ELL), and not Moral. The first is a mushroom
and the second is your ethics, I know the basics and am still learning
about the morel. As far as I am concerned there are two basic
types of morels. Black and Not Black (Thank you Bob and Ken).
Black morels range from dark black to very light brown or tan. The
Not Black morels include white or yellow, gray morels as well as the so
called Bigfoots. Yes, there are many variation and different names
for morels, but for the novice, Black and White or Yellow will do.
Keeping it simple is the idea.
Black morel (Morchella
Elata) in northern Michigan, usually starts slowly during the last 2 weeks
of April. The best black morel hunting is the the first
2 weeks in May.
Try to never"pull"
a morel from the ground! You'll stand a chance of destroying the mycelium
that way and you'll only get about 1/4 inch more of the stem anyway.
Always "CUT" it off with a small knife (or pinch)! Pinching
works well with black morels. (Pinch, cock the plant a bit, then
pinch again. Works like a charm with black morels.)
OK. Here is where I get into trouble no matter where I stand, but I'll give my opinion anyway. Why not? I sure get enough e-mail about this subject. LOL
Use mesh bags, paper bags
or a woven basket.
I don't like using plastic bags.
Why? Morels have a high moisture content and need to either
be kept cool and moist, or allowed to begin the drying process right away.
When morels are placed into plastic bags, I believe they can't breath
and moisture can't escape, so they will start to break down (rot) almost
immediately! So now you know why not to use plastic for gathering
mushrooms. I have two very good friends, Bob and Ken, who will disagree
with me on this.
where morels grow in Michigan and how to find them, is difficult.
There is no hard and fast rules here either. They grow where and
I know you must be a little
exasperated by now in your quest to find information on these little buggers.
When I first started searching the Internet a few years ago for information
it seemed like nobody wanted to give the "real" information out on how
to find them. Now it seems there are a ton of mushroom sites on
the web. So I understand how you feel. It drove me crazy too
for awhile. I've only recently begun to find whites (yellow) (other
than the occasional ones).
The truth is friend, none of us truly understand the morel completely. Even mycology experts are still learning about them.
Climate & Conditions
In Northern Michigan the right
combination of melting snow and rain will produce a "Jim Dandy" crop of
morels. Ground moisture in the spring is critical for morels.
Snow and springs rains are very important. Too little or too much
can cause a bad year. I've never seen too much yet though.
There is a difference between well watered and saturated soil though.
Morels seldom grow where the ground is soggy. They like it better
well drained, but moist. Forest fires sites of one or two years
ago, old apple, or other fruit, orchards seem to be good spots too.
I've read, that apple pulp from cider mills spread around, will help your
chances of growing them in your back yard! Haven't tried that yet.
Whichever method you use, you
want them thoroughly dried but still with just the tiniest bit of
give when you gently squeeze them. You can cut your drying
time and storage space by half or more, by slicing them length-ways before
drying. It allows the moisture to escape much faster. I like
drying black morels whole, just because I like to stare at them all winter
long and dream of spring. They are So-o-o-o pretty! ~~ sheepish
I have been storing my dried morels in jars up to 7 years now. I've read that dried morels should be stored in paper bags and not jars, so they can breath. (One lady e-mail me saying that she had found a paper bag full of them that she had forgot about for several years. She cooked them up, and said they were just as good as fresh!) So in a past seasons I tried storing in several different ways (paper bags, canning Jars, vacuum sealed bags, and a small burlap bag) to see what happened.
Cooking & Safety Tips
Small kids and elderly people are the most likely to have a reaction. To test your reaction, you should cook 2 or 3 and eat only a few bites of a mushroom. Wait two hours and try a few more bites. If still no reaction, try tomorrow with maybe 5 or 6 morels. Still no reaction......? Go ahead and enjoy. :)
My sister-in-law,Annette, pointed
out; "If you eat a sizable quantity of any wild mushrooms and have any
dizziness, cramping or upset stomach, you
should have someone drive you to the hospital and ask for a stomach pump
in your size." Good advice Annette. It really is best to hunt
with a person that knows about wild mushrooms and how to identify them
in the field. There, I've done my duty! .......Come
on, don't be afraid....let's go hunting!
My Favorite Recipes:
Recipe #1 - Sautéed in a pan of steak
drippings and butter on medium high heat. Add the seasoning, herbs
and garlic as you like and serve with the steak.
Recipe #2 - Just Sauté them as above, without the drippings, in just butter with a little olive oil to keep the butter from burning, salt and pepper at end of cooking.
Recipe #3 - Sauté about 20 to 30 of coarsely chopped morels in butter with oregano, minced-garlic, wild leeks or onions and chopped green peppers. Add pepper and salt at the end of cooking. Remove them from pan. Beat 3 eggs for your omelet and add the mushrooms and other ingredients, just as the eggs begin to congeal. Fold and finish cooking your omelet and enjoy with homemade toast. Mmmmm!
The black morel is my favorite. I don't use batter or dredge in any dry flour mixture. They get too crispy that way for my taste. Morels are as popular here as Truffles in other countries. Whites just don't have the same woodsy flavor, tho' they DO stand up better in cooking, and are great breaded. (Maybe I'll change my mind when I start finding more whites, eh?) Getting hungry?
use care in the woods. The woods are often dry from lack of rain
and the fire danger may be high! If you must smoke in the woods, carry
a small jar or a 35 mm film canister filled with water. Use this
to put out your cigarette. Some people say the 'shrooms grow very
abundantly around the edges of an area which had burned the previous year
or two. Just make sure that it isn't your fault that it burned in
the first place.
I've quit doing the season recaps because of the message board. You can alwys find out how the season is or was in there.
Year 2006 Season
The Black morel season was almost
nonexistent in 2002 due to the extremely cold spring. The white/yellow
morel season did much better in some areas, and saved the season from
total disaster. This year was not the norm. Folks were finding
them where they have never seen them before, and not finding them in the
usual places. Weird weather this spring. But now we are headed
toward this next season!
Check the report archives
to see how it went in previous years.
Year 2000 Recap
Year 1999 Recap
A Morel Hunter's Companion by Nancy Smith Weber.
I don't sell these books. I'm just recommending them.
michiganmorels.com, or it's contributors. All rights reserved.