Thursday, May 21, 2009

Crazy Giant Morels

We have been finding morel mushrooms in the gardens of Blowing Rock for the last month. Last year we found a few, but this year there has been an explosion. We came to work on Ski Mountain on Monday and found the largest morels I have ever seen growing under the deck of house in some pea much for theories about where they like to grow.  

I suppose, in a cool wet year like this they will grow just about anywhere, and will swell up to huge proportions over a rainy weekend like we just experienced.
I collected two to take home before the blackberry frost due to arrive turned them into mush.  

The Morchella, a genus of edible mushrooms, are very difficult to spot in the woods. They are the color of dried leaves, and disguise themselves well. But one you find one, your eyes then learn to spot them more easily.  

Morel hunters are secretive about their favorite spots to find them.  
They are yummy. I generally cook them in garlic and butter and use them as a topping on Pasta Alfredo. It is not recommended to eat a morel without cooking it first.

I'll never forget being approached by a woman coming outside from her office where I was working to ask me very secretively...'So...have you found any yet?'  I had no idea what she was asking about. When I realized she was whispering about morels, I had in fact been hunting and found them a few days earlier.  So, apparently Morel hunters tend to recognize each other for some odd reason. I tend to share spots with people if they ask for any info on how to find them.

Morel hunting is a great motivator for getting out into the woods to see all the spring ephemerals, like Trillium, Lady's Slipper and the terrestrial orchids in bloom. Though here in Blowing Rock, these showed up after the trillium tried to bloom but froze in an earlier spring frost.  

I brought a few home and sketched one while dinner cooked.  They are now drying on the counter. These seemed too big to me to eat.
If they dry well, I can always rehydrate them later.  I think morels sell for about 15.00 /pound.
I should have picked them all sold these fella's!

I left the rest for the chef, who I noticed wasn't all that interested. Nether were a few other people I showed them too.  Not morel people I guess. 
I suppose I really love morels for the hikes, walks, memories, treasure hunts and delicious meals they provide me.  Not to mention trippy sketches......Nature is so cool that way, and mushrooms are very trippy beings psychedelic or not.

No comments: