Morels: Foraging Guide and Recipes
One of the few vegetarian sources of vitamin D. Offers B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, magnesium, and iron.
Even people that don’t forage anything else, go foraging for morels in the spring. Their rich, meaty flavor and unique texture combined with the fact that they are near impossible to cultivate, make them a valuable finding. They’re a delicacy which can fetch $50 or more for just a half ounce online, but they’re free if you know where to look!
LOOK: Spring. On hills or higher ground in the woods near dead or dying trees. Morels seem to prefer ash trees, sycamores, tulip trees (this is where I found mine!), elms, cottonwoods, and old apple trees. According to experts, it is smart to look in forests which have been previously touched by fire.
COLLECT: Break morels off close to the ground, but do not completely pull them up. This will promote future morel seasons in the same area. Some experts caution against picking false morels by accident, though I have read that the season for false morels falls well after true morels. True morels grow in the spring, while false morels tend to grow in the summer. Still concerned? Check the stem. Real morels have a hollow stem. The stems of false morels are solid. Once you’re sure you have the real deal, bring them home and give them a rinse to make sure there are no bugs hiding inside and quickly try them off with dabbing with a dry paper towel. If you can somehow resist eating them immediately, storage in a paper bag is the best way to keep them fresh.
USE: You can use morels as you would any other mushroom, but their texture is so fun, I try to keep them whole. I sauté them with olive oil and sprinkle of a little sea salt and pepper. Sautéed morels can top a dish, but if you only a have a small amount, I would recommend enjoying them on their own, maybe just with some nice crackers or toasted french bread.
Learn more here: "Happy Hunting: 7 Tips from the Morel Mushroom King"