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|Fresh Wild Harvest Morels|
Their great value may also be found in their elusiveness. While they often grow in profusion they may be very difficult to see - especially for the inexperienced.
Morels grow in temperate latitudes around the world, in both conifer and hardwood forests. In North America they usually emerge first along the West coast in Early Spring and later in much of the forested East, from the Appalacians up through the Great Lakes region, with scattered harvests into Summer and Fall months.
Majority of harvest offered for commercial sale typically comes from Washington and Oregon with limited availability from Great Lakes and eastern states locations.
Three species are generally harvested: Morchella conica, M. angusticeps and M. esculenta. All the morels have a honeycombed, hollow, cone-shaped cap ranging in size from 2 to 4 inches high and in color from a rich tan to an extremely dark brown.
The morel is widely appreciated by gourmets, who savor its earthy flavor. Morels are marvelously flavorful and need little embellishment - simply saute in butter or a light oil. Add salt or soy sauce if needed. Enjoy!
If you attempt to harvest Morel mushrooms (or any mushrooms) do so with a quality guide and (preferably) an experienced Mushroom hunter companion. There are many organized forays and mushroom hunts across the country.Selection in the Store
Fresh morels should be clean and (almost) dry to the touch. The aroma should be an earthy woodsy smell. Little bits of the woods (a pine needle or a bit of moss) may be seen - just pick it out. These are from the woods, after all.
Storage and Handling
Morels are highly perishable and must be handled with care. However, you need never lose a fresh Morel to spoilage. The reason for this is that they may be readily dried and will keep very well in this form. The key is to keep them cool and dry, with a little ventilation. In the refrigerator in a loosely closed paper bag is perfect. Do not store refrigerated in a sealed plastic bag! This keeps in the moisture and leads to rot.
To clean Fresh Morels it is best to brush them and pick off any dirt unless they are very dirty. If washing is required do so immediately before use to avoid storing wet mushrooms. Occasionally you may find a few tiny insect larvae munching on the inside of your Morels. Remind yourself that these guys know what's good and consider them extra protein. Unless there are a lot,don't think about it, just cook and enjoy.
|Join a Morel Foray!|
|Mycological Societies are Everywhere!|
|Visit MycoWeb for listings of North American Mycological Societies|
Wild Leeks in Northern Michigan Forest
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