Part II: Where did you find those?
As I stated last week I have over the years found a few morel mushrooms every now and then, but I have never really gotten too serious about the hunt. The morels I found were accidentally discovered while turkey hunting. There have been a couple of occasions over the years where I have purposely gone looking for them, but I had poor luck in finding them and quickly became discouraged and gave it up.
So, if you ask me where to find them you are probably making a huge mistake. So just what is the big deal about morels anyway? Well, if you ask the people who wait for this time of year with great anticipation like it was Christmas, they will tell you there is no finer delicacy that grows on the Earth.
Morel mushrooms are much more flavorful than farm-raised mushrooms that you purchase in a store. I have read descriptions about the flavor and personally, I just think they taste like a normal mushroom but with a stronger flavor. I have cooked them several ways over the years.
One of my favorite is to simply sauté them in butter in a skillet and then add them to a batch of scrambled eggs. It makes for a great dish. Several years ago, I was in a turkey camp and for supper one of the hunters cooked up some bluegill fillets that he had caught earlier in the day and then he brought out the morels he had stumbled upon. He made a drench out of eggs and milk and then dipped the morels in that and then coated the morels with flour and cracker crumbs. He dropped the morels in the fish fryer after the fillets were done and we feasted upon fresh fish and fresh morels. Wow!
Morels don’t look like the portobello mushrooms you get in the grocery store! They have their very own look, much like a sponge. You will know one when you see one. Depending on how soon you find the morels after they pop up out of the ground, the morels will either be a light tan color or a little darker with the outer edges of the sponge-like darkened. They definitely have a unique look of their own.
We all know what they look like by now so now that you do, where do you find them? I don’t have a clue! From everything I have read and from listening to different people, they all seem to say that they are found near certain types of trees. I have heard people say that the morels are found near red elms. I have heard them found near dead red elms. I have heard of them found near cottonwoods. I have heard of them being found near dead cottonwoods and near oak trees. The other day, a young man was chatting with me about morels and he informed me that some acquaintance of his said that he finds all of his hidden treasure near sycamore trees. That was a new one on me!
All I can tell you is that morels are definitely found near trees. Most of the morels that I have found were scattered in the timber edges among the shrub like trees that frequently border hardwood timbers. They were not out in the open, but they were definitely where the spring sunshine could penetrate the soil and trigger the upheaval of the mushrooms. The morel hunting season is a short one. There is still time in the next couple of weeks to find some according to a local mushroom fanatic.
A nice rain would certainly trigger some more morels to expose themselves, but the season is rapidly drawing to a close. I guess if you do not want to venture out into the tick-infested woodlands to search for your own, you could always beg someone for some, but don’t hold your breath waiting for them to give you some!
If I had to pick a spot to hunt for these delicacies, I would head east toward the Missouri River. I have always heard that the area near the river is the best spot in the world for picking up a bucket of morels. If that does not interest you, then I suggest you head for the Missouri border and stop off at Fleek’s Market on Highway 36 and pick some up. Take plenty of cash with you! You are purchasing gold!
Tim Kellenberger114 Posts
Tim Kellenberger serves as Owner, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief for The Sabetha Herald since 2004. He specializes in sports reporting and column writing, as well as sports photography. Tim is a Grace University graduate with a dual degree in agricultural economics and human resource management. He lives in rural Sabetha with his wife and has four grown children and two grandchildren.