The delicious Morel

The morel is one of the best tasting mushrooms you may find in the woods.

They seem to like wood ash and lime. When we lived in North Vancouver, we had an incinerator made out of coarse iron mesh. It was used to burn scrap paper and card board. Almost every spring a ring of morels popped up around it.

Then we proceeded to have our new house build. The dry wall guys threw all the left over pieces of gyp-rock out onto the lawn, where it lay until construction was completed.
Being in North Vancouver it rained a lot and most of the lime from the dry wall washed into the lawn. The next spring a nice crop of morels appeared all over the places where the gyp-rock had lain.

This was the only time they grew there. I never saw them before or after. Since both wood ash and lime are alkaline it seems that places with sweeter soil are the spots to look for morels.

That brings us to the most likely place to find them:

Areas of last years forest fires.
Look for them a few days after a mayor rain in May.

Other places to consider are under deciduous trees such as elm, oak and cotton woods.
As the saying goes: Mushrooms grow anywhere, but not everywhere. You just have to find a spot and when you do, keep it quiet. Morels will likely show up in this same place in the years to come.

Their stems are always white but the color of the hood can range from yellow to brown to grey and even black.

When you have found your first morels, you want to make sure they are the right ones. The false morel is a somewhat look alike and poisonous.

There are three easy ways to tell them apart:

Gyromitra False Morel Posionous

Gyromitra
False Morel
Posionous

Morchella True Morel Very tasty

Morchella
True Morel
Very tasty

  • The bottom of the real morel's hood is attached to the stem. With the false morel, the attachment happens at the top inside of the hood.
  • The outside of the real morel's hood is patterned like a honeycomb, with individual cells, while the false morel has rounded ridges worming over it like a brain.
  • The real morel is hollow. The false morel has a cotton batten type filling inside the stem.

Morels are considered a delicacy in Europe and some Paris chefs pay up to $400.00/lb for them.

Wild mushroom buyers pay between $10.00 to 12.00/lb for them and business was booming last summer at the Yukon Carmacks fire site, where about 1000 pickers congregated to take advantage of the bumper crop that sprang up there.

Morels are a treat.

You can just saute them in butter and eat them on toast or add them into omelets, meat or cream sauces and soups or deep fry them with a egg wash and potato chip crumb coating.

I hope I got your mouth watering!

Now go out and find some and send me an email about where you found them – but don't tell anybody else.

Good hunting!

When you go out mushroom hunting, you have to be sure. Get your field guide here.

 

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