Morels may not look entirely alluring but this member of the Morchella genus is easy to harvest and sure to surprise you with how delicious it is to eat.
Morels are an early spring fungus that grow quickly- seemingly overnight- in orchards, oak and pine forests, along water banks and in recently burned fields and forest lands. The best time to venture out to forage Morels is after a good soaking spring rain followed by a few warm sunny days. If you’re not prepared, you can easily miss your chance to harvest morels as they grow quickly and only last a few days before passing their prime picking conditions and returning to the soil.
There are several varieties of morels and all can be eaten. At about 2 to 4 inches in height and with their unique pitted and rigid caps, it is easy to spot a morel. There are imposters though and any forager has probably heard the term false morel. A true morel is entirely hollow throughout the spongey-looking cap and uniformly shaped like a Christmas tree.
Morels will keep for a few days in a sealed container in the fridge, but you can also cut them in half and freeze or dry them for later use. Just be sure to wash them and trim the stems before preserving them.
To dry, place morels on a drying tray as you would any drying vegetable or herb, and store in an airtight container.
To freeze, slice them in half and then place on a lightly greased baking sheet in the freezer. Once frozen, move them to a freezer bag or sealable container. Freezing the mushrooms will cause the cell structure to collapse so as to cause the moisture to be drawn from them if they are allowed to thaw. When using from the freezer, do not thaw them; just add directly to your favorite recipes. Preserved morels are perfect for soups and stews.
Now that you’ve confidently harvested your bounty of these delicious mushrooms, read on for a couple great ideas to use them in your next meal plan!
Bacon Grilled Morels
A simple yet delicious way to cook your wild morel mushrooms.
- 20 Morels
- 6-8 slices of Bacon
- A pinch of Allspice
- 2 Eggs
- Bread Crumbs
- Salt to Taste
- Fry bacon until transparent and then set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, clean the morels and remove the stems. Leave the caps whole.
- Combine in a bowl 2 beaten eggs, allspice, and salt.
- Dip the caps in the egg mixture and then roll in bread crumbs.
- Skewer alternating bacon and morels and grill, turning occasionally, until the bacon is browned.
Simple Broiled Morels
The easiest way to enjoy the delicious addition of morels to any dish
- Wash Morels and then cut the caps in half.
- Dip the morels in melted butter, then into the flour to coat.
- Broil Morels for 2 minutes on each side
- That’s it! Serve them as an hors d’oeuvre or as a garnish to ant dish!
Harvesting Morels is a great way to get the family out to explore the awakening forest floor and take in that fresh spring air. A good excuse to take the kids out for a hike! Plan a morel foraging adventure with your loved ones!
While morels are fairly easy to identify, it is always best to use a field guide and ensure you can confidently verify the mushrooms you harvest as being edible before consuming. Good Luck!
Happy Homesteading Xx