Ok, I admit it- I am a wild food forager. I love finding (or growing, but especially finding) my food.
Morel mushrooms are the pinnacle for wild foraging. To find one is the equivalent to winning big at the casino! It actually becomes treasure when you see that prices range from $50 and higher for a pound at the food co-ops and grocery stores! – NOTHING is better than coming across a slew of morels hidden amongst the leaves.
There’s lots of tricks to the “trade” of morel hunting – dead elm trees, warm days, especially after a rain shower… but it’s all hit or miss and more just about persistence and having access to a whole lotta woods!
That being said- there’s always room for a few more suggestions!
1. Lilacs: Morels tend to show up around the same time as the lilacs bloom, so I use them as a gauge as to when to start my search.
2. Decomposition: Morels are a fungus, and like any fungus, they like moisture and organic matter from which to grow. It is true that they can be found around Elm trees, but they may not show around the dead Elms. My understanding is that the morel grows from the roots of a dying elm, so look especially hard at the live ones that seem to be struggling.
3. Location: I usually have the best luck finding morels at the edge of a woods only a few feet in- where they are getting some nice light, but are still surrounded by trees and other undergrowth (they can’t be easy to find now, can they!?)
4. Enjoy! The absolute most important part of morel mushroom hunting is enjoying them. We’re putting some on the grill tonight and had them on pizza earlier in the week. You can also dry them in order to enjoy year-round. Just put them in a brown paper bag in your refrigerator.
And while this is usually where I have my best luck, this year I found the biggest morel I’ve ever found, deep in the woods, long after the lilacs had died…
There is absolutely nothing scientific about my methods and I can’t guarantee they’ll work for you, but would love to hear if they do! Also, please pass along your methods!