WHAT IS A MOREL?
It is an edible mushroom famous for its’ honeycomb texture and tall, slender shape. However morels can vary quite a bit in appearance. The name morchella also refers to the morel, though they are known as the “true morels.” While truffles are among the most expensive fungal ingredients known, morel mushrooms aren’t exactly cheap either. And they’re hollow to boot! That also means that they are more easily damaged in transit, and so don’t hold up as well in a retail environment. The vast majority of cheaper morels are harvested after forest fires have scoured an area. French Provence cuisine in particular is known for its’ worship of the morel mushroom.
WHY ARE MORELS GOOD FOR YOU?
They have many of the health benefits of mushrooms and taste awesome! Morels tend to grow in soil rich in various vitamins and nutrients, so these all get passed on to you (assuming you haven’t fried or boiled them away). They are rich in fiber, antioxidants and protein as well.
WHEN ARE MORELS IN SEASON?
They are available mid to late Spring and also after the summer forest fire season.
HOW SHOULD MORELS BE STORED?
They can last in your refrigerator for about a week, but store them in a ziplock bag with a paper towel to absorb moisture. Don’t be afraid to swap out the paper towel as it absorbs water. Air circulation around the bag helps to preserve them. Also if your mushroom is very wet or slimy, you’ll have less time to eat them. And make sure to clean them well to prevent any worms from hitching a ride into your refrigerator.
SHOULD I HARVEST WILD MORELS ON MY OWN?
Unless you really know what you are doing, no you should not. Mushrooms can be VERY dangerous. One popular food blogger had her cookbook recalled after she accidentally listed the wrong type of mushrooms in her recipes. Ever heard horror stories about botulism? Well that is a good example of a deadly bacterial spore. So if you are not a mushroom expert, don’t just pluck a few of these guys in the woods and throw them in a salad for the heck of it.