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27 responses to “The Morel Mushroom Challenge”

  1. shotgunner

    In that last image, they look kinda like the Travelocity roaming gnome.

    3,000 miles??That’s $600 in fuel for 4# of morels. I thought $600 to hunt a pig that give 100# meat was crazy!

  2. Lucas

    I love this blog and this post! I’ve been a fan of your cooking and your writing for a while now.

    We had a very warm spring here in Wisconsin. Those of us with morel fever were forced to head out to the woods a full month early. All my morels are gone already, and what a sad feeling that is. I’m out of the contest I believe, because I didn’t take a picture of the meal(s), but here’s a link to my morel post a couple weeks ago.

  3. Lucas

    Thank you! I’ll be sure to do that. Please keep up the wonderful blogging!

  4. snimtz

    Those are the weirdest little pixie-capped morels I’ve ever seen in that picture there, Hank. Taste? I’m sure they’re wonderful. Ours, right now, in Vermont, are meaty little black ones, but the tall blond ones are about to arrive. And you’re wrong, Hank — we love our morels because they are simply wonderful. Distinctive, yes, and secretive, but better than Hen of the woods, next, or chanterelles, maybe a distant third. I have not had matsuke yet, so won’t go there. I cook them cut in half, in good butter, until they are somewhat crisped on the tips and mellowy in the middle. They make me cry. I never stuff anything into them or them into anything else. They are fleeting. I only want to taste them.

  5. rebecca

    I’ve never found a morel. I mean, down here in LA the only mushroom I’ve ever found and eaten is a chanterelle. I don’t think boletes grow this far south (correct me if I’m wrong and I’ll gladly spend my summer roaming the mountains looking for them). I got wind of morels in the mountains about 1 1/2 hours east of here, so I’m heading up this weekend to look. *fingerscrossed*

  6. Mojourner

    I just picked my first morel ever this week, on the shore of Puget Sound. Maybe just a coincidence, but it was growing out of a very old burn–as in an archaeological site. There were just two (that I could see, which probably means a bunch more), so I harvested one and left the other to spew spores. Cooking it with other mushrooms meant not getting a distinct flavor, but I could still discern the texture, which was excellent.

  7. May UFH Foraging Challenge Round 2: Morel Mushrooms. | Sustainable Eats & the Dancing Goat Gardens Communal Project

    […] work, feel free to peruse his site and come up with your own foraging challenge. So trek on over to Hank’s site and get hunting! Digg this postRecommend on FacebookShare with StumblersTweet about itSubscribe […]

  8. Kathryn Yeomans

    How timely that your post appears the day I find my first morel mushroom ever! It didn’t hurt that I was out on a walk with the forager who employs me as his chef, trolling about his farm…. Anyway, it was an exciting moment. And despite the fact that I am not an avid forager of morels, I do have the privilege of copious amounts of them (it pays in fun ways to be a forager’s chef!) – here is a link to my favorite morel recipe that I have posted on my blog, The Farmer’s Feast: morels poached in beurre blanc.

  9. Steve

    Favorite mushroom recipe: Hybrid- Stuffed large morels with gorgonzola and itallian sausage.

  10. Matt Hansen

    Hank, since I love the taste of Morels, you can’t beat the simplicity of Saute’d Morels in a little extra virgin olive oil and a touch of salt and pepper. Quick, simple, really the best way. My brother has more pic than I do so…

  11. Nik

    Hank, I have never before foraged for mushrooms, but have some venison left over from last season and I want to give your recipe a whirl. Any tips for a first timers? I live in Georiga and it has already gotten pretty hot down here. Any tips on where to start, what elevations to try and even clues to look for out in the woods would be great. Thanks for the great articles and recipes!

  12. brian helton

    Being a morel mushroom hunter my whole life. I can tell that the only way to cook the mushrooms is saute in butter. Anything else will muddy up the flavors of the mushroom. If you need to put them in a entree, you can not beat plain butter noodles, braised rabbit, peas and morels.

  13. Christine

    Great post! I blogged last year about our 1 mushroom find. There’s not much of a recipe here (saute in butter), but it was a first experience for my family. We’ll be back in the VT woods this weekend looking for more morels.

  14. Nathan

    I wasn’t crazy about morels the first couple go-arounds. We tried them quite a few ways before finding our favorite, which is now morel pizza. A simple homemade dough, sauce, mozzarella and parmesan. I sauté the morels in olive oil and garlic and then top the pizza with them. It’s easy and outstanding. I’ll generally sauté a bunch at the peak of season, freeze them and use on pizza throughout the year.

  15. Kylie

    My dad took my husband on his inaugural mushroom hunt as a Midwesterner this year, and they found absolutely nothing. There have been less and less every year, regardless of weather. He suspects it has to do with all the elm trees that were killed here by some sort of blight in the 1970s –now that their remains are disappearing, the morels are missing their preferred source of food. Know if there’s any truth to that?

  16. brian

    How long do morels last after being picked? How can I store morels? Can they be cleaned, vacuum packed and frozen?

  17. Russell

    Found just three little ones last weekend up around Lake Wenatchee here in WA… A little early yet. Hope to make it out next weekend, should find a ton (and maybe some Spring Kings!)

    Personally, I like them sauteed up with a little shallot in butter and used to fill an omelet. They’re also great fried whole, and as duxelles on a nice steak.

  18. Heather H.

    We love them sauteed in butter. Last year we sliced deer heart very thin and sauteed that with garlic and morels and it was to die for. The combination was so delicious, I can’t wait to make that again.
    We’re headed up to northern Michigan to more hunt next weekend. Timely post!

  19. Travis Starwalt

    Great article! Morels represent seasonality, and I thoroughly enjoy everything to do with morels. For me growing up in south central Illinois in a tiny little farm town, morel season was the greatest time of year! The weather starts warming up, first rotation in the garden is in its toddler stage, school is on its last leg, and most importantly…MORELS ARE HERE!!!

    Some of my earliest memories of cooking were with my grandmother Virginia who consistently stressed simplicity! She preserved this mentality for everything from canning tomatoes to her unbelievably delicious braised beef and homemade noodles (yeah, she braised it in water!). Her approach to morels were no different!

    When it came time for the hunt there were anywhere from two to a dozen family members involved. We would eagerly escape the binding nature of our cozy home and hustle anxiously to our local hotspots. Ignoring the “No Trespassing” signs, we sprinted into the untamed woods until we couldn’t see out. Once we were deep enough everything slowed down, eyes were ever so attentive, and quietness overran the forest while we stalked our decadent prey. The elders of the group shared stories and provided wisdom to the newbies while we gingerly tip-toed through the swarm of single footed fungi.

    We made a game out of the hunt with competitive taunts while providing adoring assistance to those caught in the awkward, flimsy dance between paces right before the fatal stomp atop a perfect honeycomb. The day progressed rapidly while in the midst of the towering trees, with each person in our company filling up multiple bags of the midwest’s translation of truffles. Once the patch of land was depleted we headed for the car.

    While embracing the dense bags of mushrooms like they were some sort of ancient currency, we embark on the most difficult part of the journey: the seemingly endless voyage back home. After enduring imaginary heckles from the “shrooms” and a long haul we finally arrive back home to unassuming open arms. The lads kick off their tired boots, gossip and giggle about the hunt like it didn’t just happen, and relax while the women took the proverbial baton to the finish line.

    Step one: butterfly mushroom from base to tip.
    Step two: rinse well under running water and leave soaking in clean water for thirty minutes, no more, no less.
    Step three: dry mushrooms with towel and prepare seasoned flour(salt and pepper only).
    Step four: heat a large skillet with one tablespoon of butter and a splash of oil(oil increases the butter’s smoking point).
    Step five: dredge the morels in seasoned flour, pat dry, and sear all sides until golden brown and crisp.
    Step six: remove morsels, let dry on paper towel, and try your best to keep wandering hands at bay.
    This is a deliciously simple and cost effective approach to the best snack I’ve had yet to date. Reserve these rare delicacies for only the closest of kin, trust me, your not going to want to donate these to just any friend!

  20. jamie carlson

    I am starting to turn the corner on morels but still feel like you do that there are better mushrooms out there. I would like to enter your contest.

  21. Sara

    I was so happy to find some Morels in time to participate in this challenge. I have some blurry pictures of my dish here
    It’s not much to look at but it was so tasty. I look forward to trying more dishes now that we are in the middle of the season – Washington is behind this year.

  22. 2sisters2cities

    Love this morel post! I am actually hosting a morel linky party at as part of our Fresh Produce Tuesday series. I would love if you linked up your post!


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