Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Morel Mushrooms

I found morel mushrooms growing in my kitchen garden amongst the corn salad. I have to say I was stoked! Growing up in Northern Michigan morel mushroom hunting is something to look forward to after a long hard winter. I never even considered the fact that morels grew in Tennessee…what was I thinking?

My son was visiting this past week. He and his friend were telling me about their turkey hunting adventure of the morning and they mentioned that although they didn’t bag a bird they did find mushrooms.

Of course I quickly showed them my find in the garden and my son’s friend told me they find morels in the woods around here every year. What rock have I been under all these years? More importantly, what else have I been missing out on?

Each May, a huge morel festival is held in Boyne City, Michigan where hundreds of folks come from all over the country to hunt the elusive shrooms. I remember as a child going mushroom hunting with the family. We always had a contest to see who could find the most.

We had our favorite spots on the family farm; the woods near Loeb creek, in the clearing by our family cabin, and along an old logging trail cut through the swamp. Sometimes we would go on a Sunday morning after all the chores were done to state land a few miles away.

It was hard to concentrate sometimes while looking for morel mushrooms. They blend into their surroundings so one has to concentrate. That was easier said then done when wildflowers like trilliums were catching my eye and I was haphazardly swatting black flies that insisted on swarming around my head. (a small price to pay for such an adventure)

My little brother Mike always found the most. He was younger and a lot closer to the ground then the rest of us. Or at least that is the excuse we always used.

After all the fun my parents could handle in the woods with 4 kids we would come home and my mom would wash and swish the mess of shrooms in a cold sink of water. Then she would melt some butter in the cast iron skillet and simmer the morels until tender. A little salt and pepper for seasoning and viola, dinner was served. What a treat, what great memories!

I dried the six mushrooms I found in hopes more will come up. It is easy to hydrate them when I’m ready to serve them up. Some folks hunt and pick morel mushrooms just to dry and sell to restaurants and the like. If I remember right, they bring a pretty penny per pound. (and it takes a lot of dried mushrooms to make a pound!)

I rather like the idea of morel mushrooms coming to me. No ticks, chiggers or other surprises. But now that I know they grow in Tennessee I guess I am willing to venture out and find more. Check out this website called the Morel Mushroom Hunting club. They have great information and reports of mushroom (not just morels) finds broken down into states with dates and names.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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