The Hunt for the Elusive Morel

The Hunt for the Elusive Morel

By Visit Fairfield | April 15, 2021

The Hunt for the Elusive Morel

53 degrees… that is the magic number for soil temps to provide the perfect growing conditions for the coveted morel mushroom. Some people love to eat them and others just love to hunt them. Wherever you fall in the scale of morel hunting, the season is now upon us and local shroomers are sharpening their sticks.

Experienced morel hunters say that there are tell-tale signs to know when conditions are ripe for these tasty morsels. Signs of Spring, like oak leaves the size of squirrel ears; lilacs budding and ready to flower, or evidence of dandelions and columbine, are all indications that the time is right to head out to the woods. (sometime between early April and Mid-May).

Morel hunting is not for the impatient… Morels, which are often found near dead trees (especially elms), may be hidden under fallen leaves or pieces of bark, or obscured by vegetation.

Fairfield is surrounded by parks that are known for their morel crop.  While all of the wooded areas are known for mushroom crops, morel season and turkey hunting season coincide so the recommendation is to hunt morels in the parks that prohibit turkey hunting such as Jefferson County Park, Round Prairie Park, Whitham Woods, and Zillman’s Hickory Hills.

If you are new to the morel hunting scene, these tips might be useful to you:

Tips for Eating Morels and Staying Safe:

  1. Collect morels only from areas away from pesticides or heavy metals sources.
  2. Do not mix other mushroom species with morels when collecting.
  3. Don’t collect morels that look bad such as old, discolored, or decayed parts.
  4. Do not collect or store morels in plastic bags. Morels spoil rapidly in plastic. Baskets or mesh bags are best for collecting; paper sacks are best for storing in a refrigerator.
  5. If you plan to freeze morels, first cook them for a couple of minutes. Cooking will stop bacteria growth.
  6. Always cook morels. They are not safe to eat raw.

And check out these yummy recipes from Midwwest Living.
Happy Hunting!

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