Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Fungus is Among Us!

I can't help it, I just love to say that! It's true, the morel mushrooms are here! For some reason I felt that this was going to be a good year for them. Although we generally get out and look at least a few times each spring, it has been quite a few years since we have found any on our farm, perhaps due to the dry weather. Last week I checked out our most reliable spot, but nothing has appeared there... yet (I remain optimistic!)
Then when MB and I were trail riding, I suggested stopping at an area where we had found morels one year and never since. Jackpot! We found quite a few and surprised Paul with them upon our return.
On Easter morning, we all hiked back up to the "honey hole". We saw these interesting reddish mushrooms on the way, which were somewhat similar to morels- we later learned from a field guide that they are related to morels, aren't particularly edible, and are called "Brown Bonnets." We discovered that the morel area was even larger than previously thought. It was really fun tromping around in the woods with the family, and just as fun frying up some of the tasty mushrooms upon our return to the house.

Most of what we found were "Half Free Morels", a variety with a long stem and smaller cap. Although tasty, we discovered that the Black Morels (of which we haven't found nearly as many) are more flavorful. We harvested enough to think about preserving some, and found lots of good websites with tips- we dried some in our dehydrator and froze others.

Last night, we went out again with our nephew Ryan and farm resident Danna. There were still tons of morels to be found, and again we had a great time searching. I have concluded that it's one of those activities in which I feel firmly "in the moment", and it is very relaxing, quickly chasing away a crabby mood. Afterwards we came back and had a great dinner and wine. I made spinach fettucine alfredo with smoked chicken and morels, and we had some local Woodford County wine- Wildside Vines American Cabarnet Franc, which was amazing! It felt really good to be eating and drinking from at least some local sources and I look forward to doing a lot more of that as our garden matures.
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1 comment:

Dianne said...

Wish I could find some morels on this place. I may need to go down in the creek and have a search around.