Everything and More’l: How to Mushroom Hunt
Calling all morel mushroom lovers!
Ever wonder about the do’s and don’ts of morel mushroom hunting? As an East Coast girl, mushroom hunting isn’t as popular in Connecticut as it is in Northern Michigan. I got the chance to track down a real morel mushroom expert to take me out into the wild and show me what exactly to look for.
Rob Ketchum, has been hunting precious morel mushrooms for 45 years. He gave me the 4-1-1 on the different kinds of morels that grow all over Northern Michigan. Morels have a very distinct looking cap, they almost look like a sponge, and they are perfect when they have a bouncy texture to them. A true morel will be hollow from the inside of the cap to the bottom of the stem. The yellow and white morels are the most common, but there are also black and true blue grays. One important thing to remember about these mushrooms is that they never grow in the exact same spot over the years.
These last two years haven’t been the best for these mushrooms. He tells me that going right after it rains or even during the rain, is the perfect time to find them. If you go hunting on a sunny day, look for them in shady spots. They don’t like the sun too much because their caps will dry out and they will grow in a slant towards the shade.
Although not usually difficult to identify, true morels do have poisonous look-alikes. It is important to do your research before eating anything. Rob says it’s important NOT to eat them raw, sauté them with some butter, and they taste delicious when you make them a little crispy. They really cook down a lot because they’re 80% water, 20% meat.