Finding & Eating Morels

Dateline: 16 May 2013

(click for an enlarged view)
My middle son, Robert, quit his job as a mechanic at an auto dealership after working there only a year. He was bored. So he went back to work for a local man who has a maple syrup operation. The guy makes maple syrup on a grand scale. This year he boiled down around eight thousand gallons of syrup. That's a lotta maple syrup, and it requires a lotta man-hours of work in the woods, installing and maintaining the sap lines. So instead of working indoors on cars, my son is in the great outdoors. This morning he told me he's working on installing a "main line" up through a gully. It's work that he enjoys.

Robert told me a few days ago that the man he works with loves morel mushrooms, and this is the time of year to find them in the woods. I told Robert that I didn't think morels grew in these parts because I've never in my life seen them. I used to roam the woods around here quite a bit in my teen years, and I knew about morels back then, but I never saw one. Robert insisted that his coworker was finding them. He said they grow where there are ash and elm trees (not maple trees). I said I'd be really surprised if he found any.

So I was working in my shop a couple days ago, in the late afternoon, making Whizbang chicken plucker parts, and Robert walked in to inform me that he had found a patch of morel mushrooms on our new land. I expressed skepticism and he produced his phone to show me pictures. I was amazed. "Show me where they are." I declared, and we headed straight away into the woods.

Sure enough, there was a patch of yellow morels right here in our own woods. And these pictures show them.

Last night Robert picked 4 morels and cooked them. He cleaned them, sliced them in half, coated them with flour and fried them in butter. He seasoned them with salt and pepper. Him and Marlene and I ate our first morels. Robert announced that they were "pretty good." I said they were "not bad." Marlene didn't say much. We ended up dipping them in Ranch salad dressing. They were better that way.

Last year Marlene and I cooked up our first puffball mushroom—a wild delicacy that many people rave about—and we decided that we didn't really like puffballs. Now we've had morels and, though they were, in our opinion, much better than puffballs, they aren't something we're real excited about eating again. But Robert has plans to cook more. Next time he intends to fry them longer, so they're a bit more crispy. 


Tim B. Inman said...

You've gotta fry 'em till they're crispy! Put a cover on and let them cook for 15 minutes on low heat. Take the cover off and finish them to make them crisp. Addictive flavor. Boyhood memories. Going out hunting this morning - while the glue sets up on my new Whizbanger frame. Thanks!!!

Herrick Kimball said...

I'll pass this advice on to my son. And I'll try them again. Thanks.

Harold Ellis said...

We dip them in egg before flouring and then fry crisp

Anonymous said...

I'm inspired to try to find morels in our woods. We also have puffballs, but I haven't tried them yet. When we discovered them last year, it was too late in the season and they were past their prime. Tomorrow should be great weather for mushroom hunting!

Nora Kramer said...

Herrick - I am THRILLED to have found your blog whilst searching for efficient chicken plucking methods. Thanks for the advice! I have spent the past two hours perusing your site and enjoying the extensive content.

I am even more thrilled that I am not the only one who has discovered and been disappointed by morels. I am a mushroom lover, but the morels just didn't do much for me. Perhaps it is because there was lots of build up from fellow Iowans (we are new to the state) who swore that we would never want to eat anything else after trying them!

Thank you again. I look forward to reading your posts!


J James said...

Was introducewd to Morels this year and I and my family are completely hooked!

We simply saute in butter and lightly salt.

Excellent cut up and dropped into an omlette and we want to do a cream of mushroom/brie soup, but we typically eat all that we find before we can use for soup!

Have found 100+ here south of Roch this season so far, hoping this cold snap over the weekend bring up some more!!!

Daniel said...

Herrisk, I had to chuckle when youe mentioned dipping the mushrooms in Ranch Dressing. I often tell folks my grandkids would probably eat shoe strings if they were dipped in Ranch Dressing! Seems the young ones eat it on everything.