Morel season is here, are you ready?
Spring is moving quickly. Can you believe it? It's already morel mushroom season in some parts of the U.S. and Canada. Are you ready to head into the woods and look for a tasty, early spring treat?
To help you out in your quest, we've done some searching on social media for you to find out where morels are being found right now.
We'll also give you some morel mushroom hunting tips and tricks to help make this morel season the best yet.
Where to find them
Of course, the first thing everyone wants to know is when the ideal time to hunt morels is. It all relates to soil temperatures. Many morel hunters have spent years digging into the science of mushrooms and exactly when they appear and why.
We go into a great bit of detail on that in this article if you're curious. But if you just want to get to the point, most morel mushroom hunters agree that 50-53 degrees is the ideal soil temperature for mushrooms to start appearing.
You can pick up a soil thermometer from Amazon for a reasonable price to help you monitor this in your own backyard.
As for the best places to search, most mushroom hunters will tell you that at times, there is no rhyme or reason to where they are found.
Last year, I found three in the middle of a dry, grassy field while looking for shed deer antlers. But there are a few things most expert morel hunters look for that should get you started.
For one, certain trees are key for finding morels. Poplars and ash trees are good species to search around. Some people really like to search apple orchards. But most serious searchers agree that dead elm trees are some of the best hot spots for hunting morels.
You can also approach searching for wild mushrooms similarly to looking for shed deer antlers in at least one aspect. South facing slopes are hotspots for finding morel mushrooms for the same reason big bucks seek them out as bedding spots in late winter, they get more sunlight.
The more sunlight a slope gets, the quicker it warms and the better the chance for morels to emerge.
Other tips and tricks
There are a few other intangibles that can come into play when it comes to morel mushroom hunting season. In another similarity to shed hunting, rain is a good thing. But a rain after it's been dry for a while? That's even better. Go out and start looking as soon as you can.
Another quick tip is to be on the lookout for burn sites. Morels are often one of the first things to re-grow in a spot in the forest where fire has swept through.
When you do find one, use two fingers and a slight twist to pull the mushroom off close to the base, leaving the root system intact. After all, you want to help protect future harvests in the same area.
Speaking of future harvest, you might also want to consider a mesh bag for morels. There is an old saying among morel hunters that using such a bag helps spread mushroom spores around so more can grow in the future.
There is some debate in morel hunting circles whether this is true or not, but it certainly can't hurt to try to help renew these natural resources, right?
Some other tips we can give are to make sure you're prepared, specifically with bug spray. Remember, ticks are just now starting to show up again, too. I've already found a couple on me here in Michigan the last few weeks. You don't want to end up with lyme disease.
If you're taking your dog with you out morel hunting, make sure they're up-to-date on vaccinations and protected against ticks, too.
As with any wild mushrooms, take some precautions before you start eating them. The easiest way to spot a true morel is to simply cut it in half. Both yellow and black morels should be hollow from base to cap. If you find fibers inside the stem, it's likely you just picked a false morel. Do NOT eat it. These can cause a variety of medical problems.
The cap of a false morel is often more misshaped than a real morel, which will usually have a conical or football-like shape. Also, if the cap of the mushroom falls off easily, it's likely a false morel. Consult with photos on the internet and if you have any doubts, it's probably best not to chance it.
How to prepare morels
If you're like me, you're not much of a cook and will likely just roll them in some flour and then fry the morels up until they're crispy and brown. If you're feeling more adventurous however, there are tons of ways to enjoy morels. How about fried with bacon-wrapped asparagus?
If you had a successful fall deer hunting, what better way to enjoy some venison than with morels? Try chopping them up to serve with venison medallions.
We've shared some interesting recipes over the years; maybe you'd like to try morel mint pasta or morel pizza with dandelions for something more exotic? Really, the only limits with morels are your imagination.
As an alternative to cooking them right away, you can also dehydrate or freeze them for later if you want to enjoy meals all year-round.
More Recent reports
We hopped on social media and quickly found people are finding morels already. Here are just a few choice posts.
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Last fresh batch of the season for me. Can’t wait for next year!! #ozarkwildharvest #mushrooms #wildmushrooms #morel #morels #morelseason #morelmushrooms #wildforaged #wildcraft #wildcrafted #forage #forestfresh #forestfreshfoods #foresttotable #foodie #eatwild #earthconnection #hike #explore #outdoors #nature #adventure #ozarks #natural #naturalstate #eurekasprings #local #eatlocal #may #2019
Looks like the Midwest, especially Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Missouri, are already producing well for some people. What are you waiting for? Get out there and start hunting!