Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Hunting Morel Mushrooms

Hubby said, 'Let's wander down over the hill road and take a look around...I doubt we'll find anything.'

That is usually code for:  I bet the morel mushrooms have started coming up.

So we each grabbed a bag and headed out the door to the ridge road and back into our creek bottom.  
Much to our surprise, it wasn't long before we discovered the first of the morels.
My husband let out a little 'ah hah!' of surprise and then pointed one out to me.  We'd walked here just a day ago and of course I'd seen nothing.

I took the little prize and stuck it in the bag.

We crept along the south hillside checking around trees.  I leaned up against an tree that was dying and looked down into the creek just letting my eyes wander around a bit.  Then I looked down at my feet and nearly fell on my rear end.
Next to my right foot was the largest morel that I'd ever seen!
I let out a huge cry of delight, which brought hubby over.  We both admired it before I picked it.
Then he promptly found a couple more.
We felt like we'd hit the jack pot.

 Morels are not easy to find.  You need to be able to see past the debri on the forest floor and your eyes need to be able to pick out a pattern that may not belong.  The one below was not real obvious to me and I guess you can see why!

We collected enough to have a nice little meal and was still able to get home before darkness fell.  Along the way, I dug out some nice 'ramps' or wild leeks to flavor the night's pork chops.
What I am finding out is that this tasty little plant is very popular right now and is dug up and sold to restaurants.  The issue is, if you dig up a whole patch, it will not re-grow.  I'm determined just to take a select few each year and let the wild leeks grow so that I have a continuous supply.

I'm happy to say that I chopped a few up when I got home along with the wild meadow onions I'd found and sauteed them in butter.
Just a few will go a long way.

It is great fun to go out in the woods and find things you can eat or supplement your meals with!

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