Monday, April 25, 2011

Hunting... or Finding?

It was kind of funny, two different family members called yesterday for advice on hunting for morel mushrooms and a cousin was talking about it on Facebook. I think it's probably prime time in Ohio, but in this part of Kentucky I believe the time has passed for morels. Perhaps I've made it sound easier than it is, as the timing is of great importance (they only last for a few days before shriveling up or being eaten by wild animals) and just being in the right place to find them is critical- there is definitely a lot of luck involved!
We have found morels on only a fraction of our farm's wooded areas, and there doesn't seem to be a common denominator with the the two areas they've been discovered, other than that there is plenty of shade. If you read what the experts say, you'll see a diversity of opinions about what kinds of trees to look under, etc.
A grey morel, the best tasting (we only find a few of these here)
The morels we found this year were in about the 2nd week of April, which is almost always when we have found them. It has been an exceptionally wet spring, as it was during the banner year for morels that we had two years ago (last year we didn't find ANY).
So, my best advice is to take your time and enjoy the woods. There is something very relaxing about getting out into nature, especially in the springtime when so much new life is happening before your eyes.
Your eyes will become trained to spot the shape of a morel, but don't dismiss everything else you see on the forest floor (can you spot the two small morels in the picture above?).
There is so much beauty in the shapes, textures, and colors you'll see.
Even the lichens are beautiful if you take the time to look.
The "morel" of the story? If you're REALLY lucky, you'll fill the sink with these (small morels from this year's harvest). If not, well you'll have been lucky anyway... just to get out and enjoy nature. My next foraging experience? We're going to forage nettles this week, stay tuned!
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