Archive for May, 2011

Hunting the elusive morels

Friday, May 20th, 2011

With the advent of spring in the Great Lakes area, it’s another year of trying to find the elusive morel mushroom. The past few years, the husband and I have been able to find a decent amount of morels in a woody nature trail area to satisfy our noshings.

A group of blonde morels

Blonde morels hiding in the groundcover

This year, I was not traveling during the start of the morel season so both of us were trekking through the woods, squinting and peering through the underbrush. We’ve gone out twice so far – our first batch is tucked away in the freezer and we decided to try to dry our second batch.

Finding these prized woodland morsels is an exercise in patience and endurance – several times, we’d be standing next to each other and one of us would look down and see the morels while the other person was totally oblivious. The ridgey texture of the mushroom caps allows them to blend into their surroundings, and they only reveal themselves when you’re viewing them at an angle that allows them to stand out.

2nd-morel-hunt

The results of our 2nd hunt

Most of our past hauls have consisted of blondes, but this year we actually found a variety of different morels (longnecks, blondes, greys and the ultimate prize – the elusive black morels). Our second hunt was a week after our first hunt, and we definitely found more morels in our second outing.

In addition to morels, we also saw fiddleheads, ramps/wild leeks and other wild mushrooms.

There is a zen-like calming quality that you get to experience while you’re out mushroom hunting – you have to take your time and look at an area in several different ways to make sure you don’t overlook these sneaky fungi. For several hours, you’re able to forget about the hustle-bustle of the modern world & listen to the sounds of birds and other small wildlife. The area where we’ve been going has a stream, so you would get the babbling water and the occasion splash from freshwater fish.

Theoretically, the season here goes until early June, but with the increased greenery, it’s going to be harder to find these the next time we go out.