Morel season is finally upon us! The official start of my 2013 mushrooming season began when I found these tiny gray/white morels last weekend:
Or did it start even before that, when I signed up to participate in the 5th annual Morel Recipe Challenge and I received my 2 oz of dried morels in the mail:
I am still working on my recipe for this challenge…it must be something baked and I do have some ideas….it is due by Sunday so stay tuned!
In the meantime I have found a few early morels (in addition to the tiny white ones) and had a very scrumptious dish of sauteed morels, fiddleheads, and nettles with onions and rice.
And remember, if you are looking for morels for the first time, there are a couple of tricky mushrooms out there: false morels. The two main Genuses are Gyrometria and Verpa. The Verpa - especially the Verpa bohemica (or wrinkled thimble cap) - disguise themselves as half free morels so be careful.
True morels are:
- 100% hollow inside, all the way from top through the stem. There will be NO cottony stuff in the inside, no folds or chambers, just completely hollow.
- Morels do NOT attach only at the top of the stem like Verpas. The tops (spongy-looking part) of the morel attach to the stem at its base; you can’t pull the spongy part of the mushroom easily off. Even half-free morels attach halfway down the top, not at the tip top like the Verpas.
(I’m sorry I do not have a picture of a verpa, but you can search the web and find some. Here is a good picture from mushroomexpert.com)
Morels must be cooked before eating! This is a general rule for all wild mushrooms.
Enjoy the spring! There is a lot out there in addition to morels right now:
- fiddleheads (please harvest responsibly!!! Preferably from someone who grows them. Only take one or two from each plant, they are so easily destroyed.)
- spring beauty
- garlic mustard
- Japanese knotweed
- stinging nettles
- onion grass
- broad leaf dock
- curly/yellow dock
- ground ivy/creeping charlie
We had a great time on our Frick Park Earth Day walks, by the way. Thanks for coming out to walk with us!
Talk to you soon…and soon there will be a new morel recipe up!
Happy, safe and responsible harvesting to all,