Sought after by Chefs and Foragers a like MOREL MUSHROOMS are truly Mother Nature’s Easter egg hunt.
Everyone wants the Morel, it is held up as one of the holy grails of Australian foraging, along with Porcini, Chanterelle and of course Truffles.
So far in my foraging journey over a decade I have found all but Truffles and let’s be honest, finding wild Truffles in Australia is just not a reality…. we are not in Europe people!
It took me roughly 5 years of hunting from first hearing about these delicious morsels of Morels, asking, studying and looking, so much looking. When I finally found my first one I was beyond words. Especially considering the cost $200 per kilo!
So needless to say I was looking forward to finally cooking with Morels, I proudly arrived home basket of about 4 mushrooms in hand. This was a double miracle both finally finding them and also finding any fungi in Spring is always a rarity!
I made pasta from our chooks eggs, cooked up a beautiful creamy sauce with wild chives and Morels and served up with pride to my family.
I was so underwhelmed! I remember thinking “all that effort for this….” While the flavour was good, don’t get me wrong they are good and amazing texture and shape… but to be honest I had expected more after hearing Chefs drool about them!
It took me another 3 cook-experiments to finally find the perfect way of cooking them. Dried is fine and enhances the flavour more, but the best way is to stuff the hollow center of the Morel with cheese, dip in batter and fry until golden & crispy.
My go to recipe is Morels stuffed with wild chive infused fetta dipped in Pepperberry leaf batter – my Son Oscar devours them completely unaware he has just eaten $50 worth of gourmet mushrooms!
MOREL E-BOOK COMING SOON WITH RECIPES!
But how do I find MORELS?& The answer from me is
” I won’t show you where but I will teach you how to find their habitat!”
Morel habitat is almost always native bushland, mossy wet areas with a perfect soil and granite rock combination seems to be a good hunting formula in my experience. However I have had some lucky foragers and Friends such as Paul (aka Speedy AKA The Spore Spreader superhero) who have had Morels pop up in their lawns or much in the backyard!
Yes we can all be a little envious of those who have Morels just pop up at their place!
I find that they dislike overgrown areas, but they do like to have shelter from other small plants such as tiny ferns and wild flowers nearby. Moss or grass is also a good sign, but actually seeing them is the really hard part. As I said they are nature’s Easter egg hunt. You could be standing on one and not even notice.
Whenever I pick them I joke that you need to look for Roo poo or witches fingers emerging from the soil, and that’s a pretty accurate visual guide in the field.
Keep in mind when you do find your 1st Morel that you need to slice is down the center and ensure it is not a false Morel by checking that it is completely hollow inside and no webbing across the middle that resembles a brain.
I am yet to find a False Morel, but with all mushroom hunting you need to know the look a like of what you are picking just in case.
Morel season starts Early August and can last until September depending on rainfall that year. This year should be great season with high rainfall in Victoria you may just find your first ever Morel too!
Happy Foraging and good luck
Ingrid and the Foraging Family