Saturday, April 12, 2014

Treasure Hunt

 Ever since I moved to this property and learned of foraging the wilds for food I have dreamed of a particular delicacy.  One that I wasn't even sure existed in this area.  I had heard rumors.  Seen photos, but yet the reality eluded me.  I hiked many a mile over my land searching and searching only to come home empty-handed.  I had come up empty so many times in fact, the idea had almost left me as something I would probably never experience.  Until today.  My normal morning walk with Chigger yielded far more this morning because I stumbled upon these.......

The holy grail of mushrooms.  True, delicious morels.  Culinary delights I had only ever heard of. 

I was stunned by how easily I happened upon these. They are truly hard to spot at first but once you see them they seem to just pop out everywhere.  I ran squealing to the house to get Jack.  Thankfully he is kinda used to me by now and was delighted also.

I gathered them in my shirt tail until he brought me a bucket.  I was rather surprised that there were this large.

And yes, I checked them closely to make sure that they were true morels.  Hollow on the inside!!

It wasn't a huge haul but to find any at all was an incredible rush.  I can see now why people get so excited over these things.  I soaked them for about an hour in salty water to clean them and then drained them and covered with a damp paper towel until we were ready to cook them.

I had never had these before, and neither had Jack, so we figured we would saute half in butter and then fry the other half in a batter mix.  We also decided such a serendipitous event called for a real celebration so I took off to a decent grocery store to get us some extra goodies.

And a wondrous time was had by all!!  A wonderful feast to celebrate this beautiful spring and my first hunt!  We gorged ourselves on steak, potatoes, morels and wine!!  The morels were exquisite either way.  I think I liked them a little better battered and fried but it's hard to say.  I go hunting again tomorrow so maybe we will have the opportunity to do a little more taste testing. 


Ed said...

Awesome. I've spent lots of time looking for them down south and have never found any despite people telling me they grow down there. As warm as it was here today, they should be here in another week or two.

The ones you found are yellow morels. They are typically that big and get larger as the season progressed. At least up here, the gray morels come up first and are much smaller. I think the gray morels have a better flavor but it isn't easy to tell unless you eat them side by side. We generally find gray morels for a week and then the yellow morels for a week and then that is about it.

I like sauteing them in butter to eat with meat. But if I'm eating them as a side, I like to batter mine. I usually just dip them in a mixture of flour and Parmesan cheese with a little pepper. Nothing fancy.

ErinFromIowa said...

Oh my gosh! This is so amazing. I would feel like I won the lottery. Haha. What a marvelous meal to round out the day.

JO said...

How exciting for you. Sharon of tiny camper loves to hunt mushrooms I am going to pass this along to her.
Looks like a great meal.

pamit said...

Wow! I once found a morel growing in the front yard of my house in Virginia...since there was only one, I just watched and marveled at it for several days. Looks like you got quite a haul...if you are interested, this page has tips on "sustainable" harvesting so that you get future 'shrooms!

Pablo said...

We found morels once in our woods. Only once. I think we got to them before some rural neighbor who was probably used to helping him/herself. And probably still is since we've never found them again.

edifice rex said...

Hey Ed! Yeah, they do grow here but I don't think as much as up your way. I figured these were the yellow. I think too I found these right at the end of our season. Next year I will start looking last of March or so. They were so good. I think fried or sauteed is both great!

Hey Erin! Yeah, it was great! we had a lot of fun with it.

Hey Jo! It was!! lotsa fun!

Hey Pam! thanks for the link! good article. I had read a lot about them before ever seeing one so I sorta had an idea what to do. I cut them off at the ground and left the "roots" in the soil. Don't know if that matters or not. And, I did find a few more but they were past their prime, so I just left those.

Hey Pablo! Well, I've read that in some cases morels only come up in some places once. Or, somebody could be snitching yours! lol!

Anonymous said...

My favorite time of year! You're absolutely right about gaining sight of morels. I have walked right through a honey hole full of shrooms completely overlooking them, until I have the first one come into focus.

I vote butter, skillet and a steak off the grill.

edifice rex said...

Hey Woody! Yep, we had half sauteed and over the steaks but I think I could eat them any ol' way! Yummy!!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Never hunted for any of these myself, but it looks like you had a really nice treat with dinner.