Morel mushrooms have long been consider one of the most choice of mushrooms, if not the top of the crop. Why are morels considered to be one of the most choice of mushrooms?
First, let’s look at what makes a mushroom choice. As you might imagine, flavor plays a big part in this judgment, but it isn’t the only thing that does. To be choice, a mushroom must not only taste good, it must be accessible and have other traits that are better than other mushrooms. It must also be completely edible and non-poisonous. They should also store well.
It should be mentioned here that in regard to accessibility, mushrooms can still be rare and for them to still be choice. They then fall into the category of ‘rare choice’ mushrooms.
Morels are a long way from being rare. They are found in many countries, and in the United States can be found in nearly every state, as well as in Canada. They are a cold loving mushroom, so are generally most numerous in areas that get colder wintertime temperature or snow. They grow in greatest profusion in coniferous forests, but can also be found in mixed or deciduous forests.
In the Pacific Northwest, for instance, it isn’t unusual for a single person, in just a few hours, to find enough morels to fill a five-gallon bucket full. Granted, a person must know what they are looking for and where to find them. Time of season is also important, though morels can often be found outside of their optimal growing season, which is early spring.
Morels more than pass in the mushroom taste category. They have a rich earthy taste that lends itself to many different dishes, and are even good when cooked alone, as a side dish.
This mushroom also grows in clean soil, so it is rare for morels to be tainted in any way. They are positively edible except for to those who are allergic to mushrooms in general. What’s more, there are no other mushrooms that look like morels. Those that look even remotely similar are general safe to eat as well, at least in smaller quantities. The same can’t be said of most other mushrooms. Accidental poisoning is exceedingly rare with morels.
Morels store very well. Blanched for less than a minute in hot butter, then frozen, they will keep for a year. They can be easily dried and rehydrated in water, while still losing very little of the flavor or texture.
In regard to texture, unlike button mushrooms and several similar species, during cooking morels tend not to reduce down much. This makes them very valuable because it doesn’t take a great deal to add to the meal, in order to have the delicate flavor imparted.
A morel mushrooms is a superior mushroom in so many ways, and even beginners can have outstanding results in picking them. If you’ve never tried morels, give yourself a break and try them. If you have, the question you no doubt have is when you can collect more. It seldom takes more than one good taste before people are sold on morel mushrooms.