The Hunt for the Incredible, Edible Morel

By Brett Dufur | April 1, 2014
From Xplor: April/May 2014

This spring, mouth-watering morel mushrooms start popping up on forest floors throughout Missouri. Time to lace up your boots, grab a basket, and head to the woods for some fungi fun!

Wandering the woods on a quest for morels is like nature’s version of an Easter egg hunt. Be ready to scout the forest floor with your eagle eyes because morels are only 3 to 4 inches tall (the length of your finger). When you find one, hoot and holler then stop and drop! More morels are probably hidden nearby.

Morels are easy to identify and delicious to eat. Increase your chances for success by tagging along with an experienced mushroom hunter.

When to find morels

  • The day after a warm rain
  • When the temperature climbs into the 50s
  • When mayapples bloom
  • When big crappie start biting
  • When oak leaves are as big as a squirrel’s ear

Where to find morels

  • Damp woods and river bottoms, on south-facing slopes
  • Near mayapples
  • Near elms, as well as ash, basswood, and cherry trees
  • Old orchards and burned or recently logged areas

Morel Munch-Fest

What’s the only thing better than finding morels? Eating morels! With an adult’s help, morels are easy to prepare. Some of the most popular recipes are also the easiest, using nothing more than breading, a hot skillet, and butter. Just remember, before eating your morels, clean them, slice them in half, and soak them in salt water.

A word of warning: Make sure you can identify morels before eating them. If you eat the wrong type of mushroom, you can get sick.

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This Issue's Staff

Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White