Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Backyard Morel Mushrooms

It’s morel season and we’re lucky enough to have these lovely little fungi popping up in our backyard. There is something very satisfying about being able to walk into the yard, pick something up off the ground, cook it, and eat it. Especially when it is as delicious as a morel mushroom.

 Mushrooms are fascinating to me. They are beautiful and strange, deadly and delicious, and always magical. Morels are particularly intriguing because of their appearance. These mushrooms appear as a honeycombed web of tan, gold, and brown—they seem almost alien, but damn are they tasty.

 After some mushroom hunting in the backyard we stored the mushrooms for future use. If you spot some and cannot eat them right away be sure to pick them and keep them in the fridge so that animals don’t eat them. Just don’t wash them before storing otherwise they will become mushy and unusable. We just threw ours in a bowl, loosely covered it with plastic wrap, and placed them in the fridge. Apparently the key to storing morels is to keep them cool, dry, and ventilated, so some mushroom hunting websites recommend keeping them in a loose paper bag.

Just as you can taste the ocean in seafood, you can taste the earth in mushrooms. That thick umami flavor connects you right to the soil with every bite. With our morels I made a morel and egg scramble with cheddar cheese for breakfast, and later on we enjoyed Cornish game hen with a morel sauce. Recipes coming soon!


  1. I was shocked when I found out a year or so ago that my mom doesn't like mushrooms--not just because that's a weird thing to not be aware of in 30+ years of knowing someone, but also because not liking mushrooms is incomprehensible to me. I love the flavor, texture, and (when cooked) smell they add to food; so many dishes seem incomplete to me without them.

  2. It should be said here that eating unidentified wild mushrooms can kill you in hours, so make sure you know what you're doing. Morels are simple to identify, and they don't look like any poisonous species, they are a great beginning in mycophagy. The false morel has a solid stem, but isn't poisonous, just not great tasting. The morel should have a brainy cap and a HOLLOW stem. (I've eaten black trumpets, chanterelles, puffballs, and boletes, picked by friends who I trust to know what they are doing.)