Foraged Mushroom 2: Morel

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Morchella esculenta

Morels, a popular wild edible mushroom are all over the mushroom groups earlier in the year, so I guess it is a Spring Mushroom.
I think the online abundance is misleading though because it is listed as uncommon in my book, so I’m probably lucky to have found one so early in my mushroom hunting journey. Though, at the time it felt like something more profound than luck! You can read the whole story here.
Morchella esculenta

Poisonous Look-alikes

This is a good mushroom to be familiar with because it’s quite distinctive and easy to tell apart from it’s closest look-alikes. 

Gyromitra esculenta is a toxic mushroom (listed as deadly poisonous in my book) commonly known as False Morel due to it’s potential to be mistaken for an edible morel.
I have readthat it’s sometimes eaten with very careful preparation, but it’s definitely not one to mess with!

Although they look quite different me to me, it’s a good idea to note the key differences so you can feel confident in identifying a Morel if you’re lucky enough to find one.

Where When and How

Said to grow on Wasteland in chalky soil, they often seem to be found growing on wood chip, usually in store car parks. Wouldn’t be my preferred place to harvest a meal but I guess you can buy worse in the supermarket!

I found them in early April in South Wales growing in short grass, I didn’t pay great attention to nearby trees at the time.

There are many different ways to prepare them, some people prefer to soak them first, others have many swear words for that! 
I only had a few and I cooked them with spaghetti (I cook everything with Spaghetti!) but I did soak them for a bit which I suspect was a mistake. Their holey nature provides many crevices for dirt and insects though, so some people prefer to soak them but I’ve heard it will affect the taste and texture negatively, which I can well believe. I would usually avoid soaking any mushroom! 

If I’m lucky enough to find them again I’ll try other recommended methods to clean them; some kind of brush and maybe a quick blast under the tap.

I’ve seen recipes that lightly batter or bread the Morels whole and deep fry, I would love to try that!

Have you tried Morels? Where did you find them and how did you cook them? Leave a comment below!

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