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Morel Mushrooms & Wild Foods

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Morel Mushrooms & Wild Foods

Postby Mud » Tue May 05, 2009 11:13 am

It's coming up on morel season here. I just went looking and found a half dozen or so half-free morels, but that's all. Might be worth a look again in another week.

Anybody else hunt for morels in the spring? Last year a friend & I found about 8 lbs over the course of 2 weeks. He's been doing a it a while, though, and knew some good spots. I'm starting from scratch, so it'll take a few seasons to get an idea. The land here was logged a few years back, and no one cut the tops. There are lots of down trees and shady brush. Looks promising.

half-free morel 2.jpg
half-free morel 2.jpg (164.99 KiB) Viewed 11428 times


A morel has the brainy-looking cap fully attached to the sides of the stem, which is hollow. A half-free morel has 1/2-2/3 attached to the stem, which is hollow as you can see. A false morel has a cap that attaches just at the top of the stem, and hangs loosely. The stem won't be hollow, but will have a loose filling, like cotton candy. Be sure what you're doing, as false morels can make you sick, or dead.

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Re: Morel Mushrooms

Postby billy_bob_95 » Tue May 05, 2009 11:30 am

Mud,

I had actually forgotton about the Morel mushrooms. Used to hunt for them as a child. Haven't been mushroom hunting in years. People around here refer to them as dryland fish. Their taste does sort of remind me of fish. Guess thats why they call them that.
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Re: Morel Mushrooms

Postby Mud » Tue May 05, 2009 11:49 am

I'd never heard of them before last spring. They're very good. You going out looking? The fiddleheads are out, too. :idea: Hope I don't burn dinner.

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Re: Morel Mushrooms

Postby zymos » Tue May 05, 2009 1:44 pm

They especially like to pop up in places that have been burned, so if you know of any fires in the last couple of years, that would be a good place to look.
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Re: Morel Mushrooms

Postby Mud » Tue May 05, 2009 2:08 pm

You must mean the fiddleheads?
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Re: Morel Mushrooms

Postby zymos » Tue May 05, 2009 2:57 pm

If you meant me, no- I'm definitely talking about morels.

In fact, one trick to cultivate them is mixing in wood ash or burnt wood chunks in the growth media. In the wild, they dont require that, but burn sites (1-2 years old) are often prime spots...
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Re: Morel Mushrooms

Postby zymos » Tue May 05, 2009 3:01 pm

billy_bob_95 wrote: People around here refer to them as dryland fish. Their taste does sort of remind me of fish. Guess thats why they call them that.


According to my handy copy of Stamets' "Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms":
"Land Fish is a Native American name, possibly Mohawk, aptly given to Morels"
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Re: Morel Mushrooms

Postby mtnwalker » Tue May 05, 2009 3:20 pm

Interesting about the fire and wood ashes.

Found 4 yesterday, and marked the site as they are still quite small. But I was really after ramps and branch lettuce.

And I had almost forgotten, so will go fiddle head hunting tommorrow.

Morels are the very best.
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Re: Morel Mushrooms

Postby dutchmancreek » Tue May 05, 2009 4:59 pm

I've never been able to find morels here on the farm. Years ago I even took shovels of soil from producing morel beds and tried to "inoculate" a few places, but it didn't work. I have hard wood forested (oak, hickory, maple) slopes, well drained. I'm told I have ginseng growing out there, and think I'll look around this fall for it.
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Re: Morel Mushrooms

Postby mtnwalker » Tue May 05, 2009 5:18 pm

When harvesting ripe morels, I always use a woven onion bag tied to my belt. As I walk, ripe spores are spread. Doesn't hurt the quality of the morels for eating.

This is one mushroom that is almost impossible to cultivate domestically.

Lots of good ginseng here, and this summer will start looking for goldenseal. Not to sell, but to propogate, as it is becomeing over harvested.
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Re: Morel Mushrooms

Postby Mud » Tue May 05, 2009 5:23 pm

That's a good idea with the onion bag. What does Ginseng look like?
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Re: Morel Mushrooms

Postby mtnwalker » Tue May 05, 2009 5:55 pm

Mud wrote:That's a good idea with the onion bag. What does Ginseng look like?


Its a given around here to allow them to develope to full size, and they can get fairly big. Then spread the spores.

Same concept with the ramps. I take a sharp knife, and cut off the roots and immediately replant.

Same with ginseng, cut off the bottom root end and replant.

Damn commercial collecters just harvest all and run. I always keep a sidearm or rifle or shotgun with me dureing seasons

Do a google on the ginseng, but harvest is in early fall. They have large or small clusters of bright red seeds at the top, and are one of the earliest plants to turn fall color. Thats when you can find them.

Had a young friend, whose famiily dug 75,000 dollars last year. They always replant the root and any seeds. Groundhogs love the seeds, so look around thier holes for the plants.

You can buy seeds also. They do best at 3,000' el. and a damp wooded forest floor, well drained.
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Re: Morel Mushrooms

Postby dutchmancreek » Tue May 05, 2009 6:32 pm

mtnwalker wrote:
Mud wrote: I always keep a sidearm or rifle or shotgun with me dureing seasons

I keep one around all the time out here in the country.


By the way, in this state at least, you have to buy a state license to pick and sell gensing or goldenseal.
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Re: Morel Mushrooms

Postby myles » Sun May 10, 2009 11:18 am

mtnwalker wrote:This is one mushroom that is almost impossible to cultivate domestically.


Have not had any success myself, but there are people selling cultured substrates.

http://www.annforfungi.co.uk/shop/mushroom-varieties/morel/morel/prod_22.html

http://www.arrowweb.com/MUSHROOM/morel/index.htm
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Re: Morel Mushrooms

Postby mtnwalker » Sun May 10, 2009 7:12 pm

dutchmancreek wrote:
mtnwalker wrote:
Mud wrote: I always keep a sidearm or rifle or shotgun with me dureing seasons

I keep one around all the time out here in the country.


By the way, in this state at least, you have to buy a state license to pick and sell gensing or goldenseal.


Same in NC for public or gov. lands. We can do what we want on private property. It is pending that there may be a moratorium on the sale of wild gensing and goldenseal for a good number of years.

And yes! Lead poisoning can be a serious disease. Some people, just don't have any immunity built up. Poor upbringing.
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