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PREPARE For a successful spring hunt
For all other sports we prepare, why not prepare to have a successful mushroom hunt?
Start before the season is upon us. First, re-read “Enjoy…the Sport of Morel Hunting” by yours truly…Team Morel. Watch Larry Lonik’s “Motherlode” DVD. Look at photographs of morels. Train your brain to see them. Next, plan to be successful. Get out you morel diary, remember the places you have hunted, the successes you have had. When were they? What were the temperatures? What side of the hill were you on? What had winter been like? When was the last freeze? Then, start watching the temperatures to determine when to start. Remember…a full week without a freeze when the daytime temperatures reach above 55 degrees for several days.
Do the Mesh
There is an advertising campaign on television promoting savings. We save strawberries, small animals, why not money? Why not morels?
Only morel mushroom hunters can save morels. In the last twenty years scientists have discovered how morels reproduce. Unfortunately, Mother Nature does it better than laboratory science, therefore morels are still picked in the wild. The morel is the fruiting part of an underground organism much like the apple is to the apple tree. Seeds are inside the apple. The spores (seed) that make new mushrooms come out of the pits of the morel. You can’t shake it loose, you can’t plant it. But you can help it to reproduce naturally by carrying your picked mushrooms in a mesh collection bag. By carrying morels throughout the woods, the spore is spreading over a much larger area than remaining on the ground expecting the wind to carry it about. In this same way new areas can be ‘seeded’. Morels appear to reproduce in cycles. By using paper and plastic bags to carry mushrooms out of the woods we have unintentionally diminished the population. Always use a mesh Spore Bag™ to collect morels, and tell others. The fabric mesh is much kinder to the morels, keeping them fresh while releasing spore back into the environment.
Show you know and you care.
I created this recipe in 2007. It was a very dry cool spring. Many of the morels were small and tight. Now I use the early season morels that are small and tight.
Rinse the fresh whole morels using the sink sprayer if they are dirty.
Use two cups of water for one cup of morels. Place in saucepan; add a pinch of salt and a tsp. of vinegar. Bring to boil, cook at boil for three to five minutes. Pour through a colander and immediately set colander with morels into an ice bath to stop the cooking.
While that is cooking prepare a basic Italian dressing with
¼ cup vinegar
3 Tablespoons of water
½ cup of salad oil (I use canola, olive oil has too much flavor)
A couple of shakes of granulated garlic
Dried basil, oregano and parsley
Dried onion flakes
The prepackaged store bought dressing that comes with its own bottle works equally well.
In a glass jar place cooked morels then cover with the dressing mix. Make sure dressing mix is above the tops of the morels. They are good in 24 hours but really good after two weeks. Keep refrigerated.