On the glades appear the first mushrooms – morels. This delicacy can be worth a lot of money to many restaurants and shops. To hunt for this magnificent mushroom it is necessary to be able to find, identify and correctly cook them.
Where to look for morels?
They like to grow in early spring, but they can rarely occur until the beginning of summer (There have even been reports of people finding them in late summer and into fall!). This mushroom with great difficulty makes its way to the sun, so it will never grow where the thick grass has plaited it’s roots very densely. Places should be warmed up very well. Often these are open glades, a flat bottom of ravines with a lot of moisture and steep southern slopes. They sprout in places where after melting snow there were deep puddles. Mushrooms grow in large groups, they are rarely found singly.
Morels love to grow on alkaline soils rich in lime, and chalk. They massively appear for 3-4 years after forest fires. They begin to appear at temperatures ranging from + 50F to + 68F. If the weather gets too hot and dry, then they dry up at a growth stage. Optimal conditions are clear sunny weather, temperature + 45F and soil condition, when it bends under the weight of a person as a soft mattress.
How to identify a Morel
Fruit body length is from 1 to 8 inches. The color of the cap varies from yellow and gray to honey and wax. Mushroom is thin, fragile and watery. In the bright sun it shines well. The stem has a velvety structure, and the cap looks like deep honey combs, which often form a symmetrical pattern.
Tips for harvesting
Use the following useful guidelines:
Take a bucket or basket with you. In a plastic bag these mushrooms will break into pieces.
You must carefully search the territory. If you find one morel, there are bound to be numerous in that same area.
Attentively step on the ground. Beginners crush a lot of mushrooms hidden under the leaves.
Carefully cut or twist the stem completely, but DO NOT break it, or rip the entire mushroom from the ground. Otherwise, you bring home many pieces of mushrooms that can not be processed, and stops the natural spore process.
Use in food
Useful and medical properties
Morels can be cooked in many different ways, fried is the most popular way. They are often preserved by drying. They contain up to 95% water. To eat them in raw form is prohibited.
Mushrooms have a delicate exquisite aroma, which is highly appreciated by gourmets all over the world.
The chemical composition of morels is very common for fungi – they contain proteins, fats and carbohydrates, dietary fibers, water, ash compounds, monosaccharides, disaccharides, B vitamins (riboflavin, thiamine, niacin equivalent), vitamin C8 (perfluorooctanoic acid). Morels are low in calories – only 16 kcal per 100 grams of the product, they can be considered a dietary product.
The main benefit of the morel can be considered the presence of a substance called FD4, which is a variety of polysaccharides and strengthens the eye muscles, while directly working with the lens of the eye (does not allow it to grow turbid). The created drug on the basis of morels has passed numerous clinical trials, but its efficiency has surpassed all expectations: vision has been improved by 20-30% in 60% of patients, and the risk of cataracts has decreased by 80%! In addition, there have been cases of clarification of the lens of the eye.
Tips for processing and storing
As the mushroom grows it absorbs a lot of soil, so it must be cut in half before washing. In the cells of the cap often there are insects, which need to be washed out with a stream of cold water. Many avid hunters will suggest to soak them in cold water sprinkled with sea salt to pull the bugs out of them. Morels must be boiled for 15 minutes. It is possible to fry them without boiling. After the heat treatment, the morels can be frozen in a vacuum package. Dry morels must be stored in a dark cool place in a paper bag enclosed in a sealed glass jar