Other names: Dryland Fish, Hickory Chickens, Sponge Mushroom
Translations: Morel Sēņu, Morel Grybavimas, Morel ciuperci, Morel gljiva, Nấm Morel, खाने की गुच्छी मशरूम, Cogumelo Morel, Морель грибов, Morel Μανιτάρια, موريل الفطر, 곰보 버섯 버섯, Morel hub, Jamur Morel, Kabute ng morel kabute, 莫雷尔蘑菇, Morel bolets, Morel húb, Morel Fungo, פטריות מורל, МОРЕЛ гљива, 編笠茸, Morilles, Morel setas, Морель грибів, Морел гъби
Morels are notable by their net like cap. The cap and stem grow from two to four inches tall and are hollow throughout. They can range in color from light tans to dark black.
Colors: Yellow, white and black
Flavors: Deep smokey flavor.
Food complements: Red meat or poltry
Wine complements: Pinot noir and zinfandel.
Beverage complements: Most beers and ales.
Substitutes: Other robustly flavored mushrooms and truffles.
Selecting and Buying
Seasonality: april, may
Peak: april, may
Choosing: Fresh morels should always be chosen over dried varieties, however, dried varieties are usually easier to find and will work fine if reconstituted.
Buying: Some grocery store, gourmet stores, French food shops and health food stores.
Procuring: It is important to have a good working knowledge of mushroom classifications before ever foraging for morels. While morels have a distinctive physical appearance they can be mistaken for "false morels". True morels have a cap that is honeycomb or net-like in nature, conversely false morels tend to appear more wrinkled and brain-like in appearance.
As with mushroom hunting for any variety it is also important to take and examine the spore prints of what is collected. This is done by placing the mushroom spore baring side down on a white piece of paper and covering with a bowl for a few hours. After this time spores from the mushroom should have fallen on the paper making them easier to examine.
Spores from true morels range from a cream color to yellow.
Preparation and Use
Most often morels are fried, sauteed, or grilled. A good way to prepare the Morel is by sautéing them in butter for approximately 4 to 6 minutes per side, depending on size, and serving immediately or using them as a topping for other foods, such as eggs, game, and various meats. Morel mushrooms provide a rich, earthy flavor that enhances sauces, egg dishes and a variety of hearty meats.
Cleaning: Vigorous cleaning can detract from the flavor of morels so it is far better to simple allow them to soak in cold water, if they have been dried. This retains the delicate flavors of the mushroom while also removing any residual dirt. For fresh mushrooms, when cleaning, use water with a soft brush to clean sand, grit and other debris from the pits and ridges. Cut lengthwise and check the interior for insects and other debris.
Conserving and Storing
It is best to use morels as soon as possible so they are at their freshest when consumed. This is when the flavor is at its peak. If they are not to be prepared soon after picking, they should be stored in areas open to circulating air. If they are dried, they have a much longer shelf life and can be stored indefinitely in a coo, dark cabinet or pantry.