Friday, May 8, 2009

On Morels

Borrowed from the Detroit News as a service to our friends
We'd love to just sell you morels, but we know that many like to collect their own

Morel mania: Now's the season for Michigan's prize mushrooms | | The Detroit News:

Morel-hunting tips :

# Don't hunt on private property without permission.
# Carry a mesh bag to release and spread spores along the way; leave plastic bags and buckets home.
# Pinch or cut the morels you find -- don't pull them from the ground.
# Clean morels by shaking them or brushing with a soft mushroom brush. Some suggest soaking briefly in lightly salted water and then cooking immediately.
# Store morels (and other mushrooms) in paper in the refrigerator for better air circulation; avoid plastic -- it makes them moldy."

Real vs. false morels

The only sure way to distinguish between morels and false morels, which can be poisonous, is to have years of experience or be accompanied by an expert. MushroomExpert.Com offers this advice from Michael Kuo:

Rule No. 1
When in doubt, throw it out! If you're not 100 percent sure your mushroom is a morel, don't even consider eating it.

Rule No. 2
If it ain't hollow, don't swallow! Morels are hollow. Slice open a black or yellow morel, and you will find only air (and bugs, if you haven't cleaned it), from top to bottom. Slice open a false morel and you'll find mushroom flesh. Sometimes the flesh of a false morel is interspersed with air pockets, creating a "chambered" effect -- but there is flesh present. Consequently, false morels weigh more than morels.

Rule No. 3
If it's wavy, don't make it gravy! The caps of false morels are often wavy rather than pitted. The pits on morels are not, on very close inspection, symmetrical, but they are very regular when compared to the lobed, wavy, brain-like structure of the false morel cap.

Rule No 4
If it's reddish, you could be dead-ish! False morels frequently (though not always!) have reddish-brown shades. Some yellow morels develop red stains, especially as they age (the stain usually begins as a stripe on the stem and then spreads), and when morels are growing under pine. So, this rule might eliminate some good-eating morels. But it is more likely to eliminate false morels.

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