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Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

Although we have had days in the 80○'s, the stop and go of the weather has drastically changed several of our Spring habits. Usually I go looking for Morel Mushrooms as a early April treat, sautéed Morels are one of the rewards for putting up with sudden rains, unexpected turkey hunters, muddy driveways, and the ever-present ticks. This year, by the end of April, I had found exactly 4 Mushrooms, 2 ok sized, 2 kind of small. Fried them up with some fresh eggs, and decided ok that's it for the year, just look forward to next year.  Then Wednesday evening, 2 May, I spotted a large Morel near the horse pens. When I went to investigate, I found eight others going down the slope, all large, all freshly grown. Due to the nice size, these 9 mushrooms ended up weighing 2 pounds. Last evening I went looking in the same area. Nothing there. But after doing my evening chores, I spotted 6 more in a different area. They are washed  and soaked and are now waiting the butter, basil with minced garlic, before they join the red peppers to create several stuffed omelets (ham, green onions, and Swiss cheese, YUM!). So even if the calendar says May 4th, my kitchen is about to proclaim it April, Mushroom Time! 

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Comment by Jennifer on May 6, 2013 at 10:05am

What a good reminder that good things can pop up when we least expect them! Hooray!

Comment by Michelle Wire on May 6, 2013 at 10:39am

Sounds like this made your day and a good pay off from having to do chores. I havent ventured into eating mushrooms, but your descriptions are swaying me.

Comment by Rick Nichols on May 13, 2013 at 6:09pm

Jennifer wanted me to post some 101 's on finding Morel Mushrooms, and all I can say is I am not an expert, so 101 (basic) is about right. Morels are found in the spring, in eastern Kansas the earliest is about second week of  March, and this year I was still finding beautiful Mushrooms the first week of May.
Look for Morels to pop up in the spring mornings after a light rain or fog. Most of the time, I go looking as soon as we have a night time low of 45 to 50○, some recent moisture, and enough wind to stir up old leaves. I only find them in shaded areas or under long grass left from the fall. They grow well in leaf mold, so if you work down to a gully bottom and the look back up hill under the leaves from last year, you should have some luck. The problem is that they will look like a leaf at first glance. I usually carry a stick to gently sweep through a suspected patch to uncover some, but don't stir things up, or you can disturb some that are just starting to grow. Tan, fleshy colored, firm and cool to the touch are perfect. When you find them, if you just pull the mushroom, you end up with half a morel, or a big patch of mud stuck to it. I find that I have better luck pushing my fingers down the stem of the morel to the ground and then pinching through the stem. If the conditions are right, and you are looking where you think they should be, slow down. Look again. Follow the point of your stick as you gently move a couple of leaves. Because when you finally spot that first one, start looking in a circle out from it, There's more!
 I like them rinsed several times, then soaked in ice water over night. One more rinse and split them top to bottom in halves or thirds, sauté medium high in butter (Not Margarine) or in Olive Oil. A little Minced Garlic seems to go well here too, but I have used Wostestershire sauce and even A-1.
 If you find some late in the spring, or if they are getting older, they may have turned brown or grey on the top. I just pinch off any collapsed brown areas, they are starting to dry out and can start getting tuff. Turn up the heat a little bit under these older ones, they still are great. Remember these little nuggets sell for about $7.00 a pound, and they are well worth it!
 Ok Jennifer, here is the 101, have fun with it

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