Morels!

Morels!

morels
It’s mushroom season here in Montana and I’ve spent much of the weekend obsessively wandering the bottomlands along the Yellowstone in pursuit of the beautiful, fragrant, and elusive morel. It started on Saturday morning, when Maryanne’s friend Tice took us down to the sweet spot by the sewage treatment plant where her family has been hunting morels for years. A little backstory here, Maryanne and I have any number of friends who hunt mushrooms — big men, some of whom are known as famous outdoorsmen. Would they share their spots with us? Would they take us out so we could at least see what the morel looks like in it’s native habitat? No — they wouldn’t. Not one of them. Made a big deal about it, like it’s part of their secret guys-club handshake. No telling the girls where the morels are.

So, take that. Tice took us out and we found a whole buncha morels. We now know what they look like growing out there, and what kind of terrain they like. It’s not rocket science, after all — but I do find that having someone take you out the first time with any new mushroom species is pretty crucial. Or maybe it’s just because I’m a really visual person, and so I need that image in my head. At any rate, I have wee pile of morels drying in my kitchen, and yesterday I also found a couple of nice big clusters of oyster mushrooms. I also found some young horse mushrooms that I thought might be okay, but turns out they were full of bugs, and I’m still not confident enough to key out white mushrooms on my own. My rule with wild mushrooms is that I only harvest species that don’t look like anything poisonous — which brings my “life list” of mushrooms I feel comfortable harvesting to four — chanterelles, boletes, oysters, and now, morels.

2 thoughts on “Morels!

  1. I have the same trouble here…getting the old timers to let me in on the secrets of finding morels. Congrats on finding a generous soul.

  2. Wonderful! Morels! I’m only up to two on that list — oysters and Chanterelles. The latter of which are among my favorite things on the planet to eat the one time per summer they are discovered in my mother’s woods in Vermont. I remember some particularly snooty chef being mildly insulted way back when I was a waitress and he made some fancy-pants dish and I said, ‘oh, Chanterelles, we find these in the woods under pine trees at the same time the wild blueberries are out!’ Or maybe he was just surprised that a bumpkin like me knew what Chanterelles were by sight and taste without the requisite Solemn Fancy-pants Recitation of Ingredients. This still makes me laugh when I see the anemic ones they sell for a gazillion dollars a pound at Fairway.

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