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What are morel Mushrooms? The #1 mushroom to hunt in the wild, difficult to grown indoors, taste delicious and cost $20 a pound fresh.
Anyone who is starting to look into Morel mushrooms is in for a real treat. The Morel truly is the most exciting mushroom to hunt in the wild…But why?
What Makes the Morels So Exciting to Hunt and Why Are Morel Mushrooms So Expensive?
- It is difficult to grow indoors so it is mostly hunted in the wild.
- They popup in new places every year so they are very unpredictable.
- It is a delicious choice edible mushrooms that is a whopping 40% protein.
- They only grow 3 to 4 months out of the year.
- Morels can sell for $20 a pound during the season at the farmers market.
- You can store them frozen for a year and taste just as good as when fresh.
When you combine all these things you create the excitement around this mushroom. Before we go further into what makes these mushroom so exciting let’s talk about what a Morel mushroom is…
What Are Morel Mushrooms?
Morel mushrooms are the most desired wild mushrooms in the world. The reason is they bring a nutty and earthy flavor to simple roasted vegetables and rich, buttery sauces. Morels are popular for their unique structure and subtle and fine flavor. They come in a wide variety of colors and shapes. The most distinctive characteristic is the pitted outside of the mushroom—people say it resembles a honeycomb. Besides, they uniquely look like a brain as well! There are no other mushroom that look like this.
Not only that but when cut in half they are completely hollow. Which means when you cook them it makes for a thin fillet which is unlike any other mushroom.
This truly is one of the most unique mushrooms that you will ever come across that is a choice edible mushroom.
They have oblong to bulbous shapes with colors ranging from grey, black, yellow to blonde. They can be as small as your fingertip while some species can be as large as their hands. Their unique feature is their honeycomb like exterior.
The scientific name is Morchella and it is a genus of the edible sac fungi and releases it’s spores through the small pits in it’s honey comb cap.
Unlike other mushrooms that have a slippery or slimy feel, morels have a meaty texture with an almost earthy, nutty flavor profile.
Some connoisseurs substitute meat with morels to produce a vegan alternative for some customers.
While some species of Morels tend to be mycorrhizal (meaning they grow in symbiosis with the tress around them), other species act as saprophytic (meaning they decompose the dead treas back into the earth to be used by other plants and trees). This among many other things make this one of most NOT well understood mushrooms there are.
How to Cook Morel Mushrooms
You can’t eat Morels raw because they contain a toxin call thermolabile but you can eat them fresh when cooked first…or you can dry them out. Then within a year, take your dried morels and reconstitute them with water and cook them.
Morels grow in different locations each year and currently are very difficult to cultivate so it will mainly be know as a ‘wild mushroom’ only. In 1982 Ron Ower figured out a way to grow the Morel mushroom indoors and then he immediately patented it.
To learn more about the different types of true Morels, such as:
- Black Morels
- Yellow Morels
- Half Free Morels
Then check out our other article here:
Now let’s talk about the hype surrounding the Morel mushroom to help you understand why this mushroom is so much more popular then all the rest…
The ‘Hype’ Around Morel Mushrooms
It truly takes years of experience to be good at hunting Morels. It truly is a skill set.
Most people learn how to hunt Morels from their parents and it is a skill that gets passed down through the generations.
Not only that but it takes years to discover your own secret patches to check on each year. You need at least 3 location in your back pocket that way if one area doesn’t produce that year you can check the others.
You need to be able to identify certain trees that Morels like to grow near as well as the different types of plants that will grow in the same conditions as Morels. For example,
When Tulips start to produce flowers that will typically be the time that Morels start to grow and when their flowers die then the Morels stop growing.
Check out a full list of the trees and plants (with pictures) in my other article here:
Morel Mushroom Season
When Morels start to grow from March to June (have been found as late as November), to many people it is a season all of it’s own. By the time the end of the season rolls around passionate Morel mushroom hunters will start to get depressed because they will have to wait 8 more months until they grow again.
Morels are tiny and very hard to find growing. It takes years to develop an eye for finding them even when you are in the right area.
They take 2 weeks to fully grow before they start to dry out and die but they can grow as much as 1 inch in a day. This means even if you missed them one they, the next day they could much bigger (typically grow as large as your hand).
For most people it is the thrill of the hunt that gets them excited because they have taken years to acquire the skill of being a hunter that can bring in pounds after pounds every year while other can’t find any.
Not to mention that their is a sense of fear surrounding this mushrooms as well because they have 4 poisonous look alikes (false morels) that could kill you. Check out our other article here to learn more:
The Morel is a very unique mushroom in that there is such a large and passionate following behind this mushroom.
When you look at other mushrooms like the Chicken-of-the-Woods mushroom that isn’t grown indoors and starts to grow right after Morel season ends in June all the way up to October. You wont see a following of mushroom hunters anywhere near as large as for the Morels for it. Why is that?
They are both delicious choice edible mushrooms that are high in protein…But I think the main difference is that the Morel mushrooms are so:
- Unpredictable on where they will popup each year.
- Very tiny so they are hard to spot.
- They camouflage into the environment making the colors hard to spot (not like the bright orange chicken of the woods).
- When cooked they have a unique thick and meaty texture unlike any other mushroom.
The Morel is a super unique mushroom in the way it looks and tastes and is one of the most fun mushrooms to go hunting for in the wild that takes years to truly master.
Thanks for reading out article and if you though it was useful please share it. Thanks and enjoy the next Morel season!
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