WEST LIBERTY – With Spring comes the anticipation of searching through the woods for morels, better known as mushrooms. No matter who you talk to you will get different answers as to when is the best time to look for mushrooms. Some suggest it depends on what is in bloom: anything from red buds, violets, trillium or tulips. Temperature is important as well, 40 degrees to 60 degrees. Ideal ground temperature is 52 degrees – not too hot, nor too cold.
You have to know what you looking for because there are four different kinds of mushrooms and also false mushrooms. The first to pop up are the blacks, then grays, yellows and Bigfoot at the season’s end. Beware of the false mushrooms, they have fillers in the middle! Real mushrooms are hollow and are connected at the base. If they aren’t hollow, don’t swallow!
Before you leave for the woods, are you dressed properly? Pants, long-sleeved shirt and appropriate shoes are best. Also, do you have permission to hunt in the woods if they are not your own? It’s against the law to trespass on private property. Don’t forget a bag to carry the harvested mushrooms.
Now you are in the woods but where do you look? Know your trees. Why? Fallen trees such as elm, ash, apple, poplars and sycamore are where they like to grow. Also, check under the May apples near such trees.
If you are a die-hard mushroom hunter, you can mark the area where you find a mushroom on your cell phone GPS, so you can check there next year. Or some leave a golf ball behind to mark the spot. Another idea to mark where you find a mushroom is by recording it in a plot book.
Don’t bother to ask a mushroom hunter where they found their mushrooms because mum’s the word. It’s a secret known only to them. They love to share pictures of how many they find, how big they were (usually laid next to a ruler for proof) and maybe the county they found them in, but that’s it. Important note: don’t forget to check for ticks when you get home from your hunting excursion.
One way to prepare your yummy morsels is after cleaning them up and removing any bugs, cut into bite-size pieces, dip in beaten egg and roll in flour. Fry them up on both sides until they are golden brown and add more eggs.
Give me a walking stick, my guide to protect me from snakes, wild dogs and critters, and a warm sunny day to go hunting while listening to the birds singing and admiring the wildflowers along the way. If I am lucky I will find mushrooms to fry up with scrambled eggs in the morning.
Happy hunting to fellow Shroomers!
For more info:
Justin Yapp on YouTube
Tami Wenger is a regular contributor to this newspaper.