It is time to start hunting for morel mushrooms. I have been looking at some advice from experienced mushroom hunters to see what tips might help me find some morels this spring.
The first tip is to post pictures of morels all around the home or office. The theory is that if you are very familiar with the shape, they will be easier to spot.
Remember to check for signs that it is time to start hunting. You should see oak leaves that are the size of a squirrel’s ear, budding lilacs, dandelions, and other early spring flowers in bloom. At this time of the year, expect daytime temperatures in the sixties and night temperatures in the fifties.
More important is the actual soil temperature. Temperatures in the low fifties are best; temperature seems to be more important than the direction that the hillside faces. Earlier in the spring seems to be the best time to begin searching. If a cold snap occurs, there may not be as many morels growing after the weather warms up again.
Dead trees seem to be a great spot to search. Elms, Ash trees, Apple trees, and many other trees provide just the right nutrients for morels.
If the spring has been dry, look at the base of a hill. The soil will still be a bit moist there. Creek bottoms that get some sunlight are also great spots to hunt.
Once you have found some morels, remember:
- Don’t collect morels that have been exposed to pesticides.
- Don’t mix morels and other types of mushrooms
- If the morel doesn’t look good (old, discolored, decaying) don’t harvest it
- Use paper sacks, not plastic for harvest and storage of morels. They will rot in plastic bags.
- Always cook morels, don’t eat them raw.
- Follow directions for cooking and freezing from our previous blog post.
Happy hunting and eating.