Hunting the Great Morel

The days are getting warmer and it will soon be time again to grab that mesh bag and begin the yearly trek to your secret mushroom sweet spot. Mushroom season is upon us and while those who have grown up in the tradition of hunting these delicacies are prepared, these tips are for the beginners.

Tips and tricks for the newbie mushroom hunter

Stepping into a hunt unprepared can be a discouraging experience so take these tips to heart and enjoy a lifetime of happy hunting.

Tip 1: Long sleeves, long pants and tennis shoes
Don’t make the mistake of hunting with your delicate skin exposed! It is early spring and most woodland foliage has not taken over the woods just yet but sticker bushes bite all year long!

Tip 2: Tick tricks
Along with being carriers of not so nice diseases, ticks are just nasty in general and it’s a good idea to deter them as much as possible. The best thing you can do to discourage ticks is to keep moving. Do not stand in one place too long. Also, tuck your pants into your socks and spray copious amounts of bug repellant on your shoes and the lower parts of your legs. This will deter all but the most ambitious of ticks.

Tip 3: The hunt
While everyone’s technique is a little different, here are some of the basics to get you started. Morel mushrooms are particularly fond of wet areas and dead elm trees. So start with scanning the ground around creek beds, low areas and around trees with slipping bark. There are no steadfast rules, mushrooms can really be anywhere but these are the best places to start.

Tip 4: The pick
Finding a mushroom can be a very exciting moment for any beginner so be careful not to rush it! Make sure to pick the mushroom as low to the ground as possible. Then take the stem in one hand and gently tap the mushroom with your finger. This will release any remaining spores so there will be more mushrooms next year!

Tip 5: Preparing your finds
Once you are satisfied with your treasures, slice them in half and soak them in very salty water overnight in the refrigerator. This will kill any bugs and bring any dried-out mushrooms back to life. Drain them, rinse them and then prepare them any way you like (fried is the best). Bon Appetit!