Morel Motherlode

Here’s what H and I did this afternoon:

morel-motherlode-2009All told, we ended up with about forty to fifty pounds of the succulent fungi.

Today’s hunt was a heckuva lot different than other hunts I’ve been on–where I’d find a few, then walk half a mile, find a few more, walk again, etc. I’d come out with a couple dozen in my bag and feel like I’d gotten a secret treasure.

It’s always possible to wear yourself out walking in the search for morels, but I never knew it was possible to wear yourself out stooping to pick them, and–there’s another–oh, there’s three more, oh, crap, I need a picking strategy!

We actually had to go back for more bags, after filling the big mesh 25lb. onion bag, two smaller mesh bags, and one of my Flying Tomato bags I was using as a purse of sorts.  H went back to empty all the bags and left me with the two little mesh ones.  By the time he got back, I’d filled those two bags, and made a number of morel piles.

We’re distributing a few to friends and family, and I’m looking to cut a deal with R-Pizza, so they can serve a morel pie (watch for it!), but I’ve got to go back tomorrow because we didn’t get back into town ’til the dinner rush had started.

In my view, morels can’t be sold to strangers–so these will stay in the family (biological and of the informally-adopted gypsy variety) and hopefully with friends who make the best pizza on the planet.

After that, I’m getting my dehydrators going with all their trays.  And kinda wondering when the next flush will be…

Did you want to see those beauties again?  Of course you did!


morel-motherlode-3You’ll never guess what we’re having for dinner…


8 responses

  1. I am so excited and mad that I missed the first flush! What ever happened to Mothers day and the bloom of lilacs as the sign? Did one 80 degree day do this?

    And just to be certain…are we looking at the Vermillion area or KC?

  2. Thanks for the clarification. Any way you slice it, that was a great haul. I put on a huge dinner party with Morels as the central theme and it looks like this is going to be a good year. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your site. It’s truly wonderful

    • They do look funky–that certainly helps with their identification. It would be difficult to confuse them with any other mushroom. There is a false morel, but it doesn’t really look like the real ones, at least to me. I would still only recommend newbies hunt with experienced morel shroomers.

      Morels have a rich, “meaty,” smoky flavor. They’re kind of spongy in texture. For mushroom aficionados, they’re one of the “holy grails” along with truffles–hard to grow from a kit, somewhat random-seeming in their fruiting from year to year even in the same places, and very expensive to buy in the store if you can find them at all.

      They make a really great addition to the pantry, as their flavor is assertive and just a couple will add nice flavor to an entire dish. They also dry well, so they’re easy to store. They tend to grow in sandy soil, which along with their brainy shape makes it difficult to get all the grit out of them. Even washing them twice, I’m still getting a layer of grit in the bottom of the pan when I saute them. But it’s easy enough to pour off the copious amounts of juice they give and leave the sand in the pan.

  3. Hi,
    A friend from Vermillion pointed you out at the denr hearing in ep, I like your blog-
    Be careful w/ consuming large amounts of the yummy shrooms, I had a little known experience awhile back where i dove into a skillet full of ’em sautee’d in butter, washed down w/ a beer on an empty stomach. At about 3 am my hubby had to rush me to the verm. er, i was having siezures. Dr. Ted van Bruggen was still teaching at the U, my md called him & he found some obscure medical journal that had it & the antidote is IV saline w/ B vitamin complex, it saved my life they said. The trace enzyme in the shrooms plus alcohol turned into a neurotoxin that attacks the ‘myelin sheath’ which is the membrane that encases out nervous system, guess it’s not happy naked… Not that morels aren’t still wonderful, just not too many with alcohol. Yes I got brain damage, have healed over time tho can still tell, tho mostly i joke about it gallows humor style. Serves my right for thinking I could eat ’em all myself
    I’m the one that spoke about graves & virgin prairie, maybe we’ll meet at the farm market, hope so!
    Keep up the excellent blog by the way-
    Carolyn Carlson in beautiful downtown Burbank
    (there’s a good reason why my dearest friends call me crazy, now you know!)

  4. One of my fav. ways to cook them is to mix up a bowl of minced garlic, assorted “Italian” spices and then take the ones which are medium sized and stuff them half way with the garlic mix. I use a chop stick to load em up. Then brush extra virgin olive oil on them and broil…for a few minutes. Maybe 10.

    Most delicious poppers ever!

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