I traveled over 1520 miles to find these precious gems and it was worth every mile. My sister called on Wednesday and said she had been out walking on my Dad’s farm and found some morels. I was in the car the next day heading to Iowa. I picked up my other sister in central Iowa and we made it to the farm on Friday morning at about 7 AM. Debbie was a little hesitant at first about the whole ordeal because even though she had found about 50 mushrooms, whose to say she could find any more? What if I drove all that way and came up empty handed? That had happened so many times that I knew it was a real possibility but I wanted some pictures of those amazing morsels of goodness for my blog and I decided it was worth the try. And, as you can see from the picture, I was not disappointed! We found about 30 or so in about an hour of searching the creek banks. When I say creek banks - really only about 2 feet wide and only had water in it in the spring. Here are some of my sister’s best ideas for where to find morel mushrooms: 1. They seem to grow right where gooseberry bushes are (which are easily identifiable) 2. They seem to grown in a line with where the wind can carry the spores. In other words, if you find one, walk 50 yards in the direction of the most common prevailing winds. If you do not know the prevailing winds, you can also use the same logic if you happen to find three mushrooms spread out over an area and can make a line of them. Follow the line farther and you may find more mushrooms, like we did. Some say dead and fallen trees are a good place to look. This was not true in our case. There were lots of rotted oak and walnut trees, but no mushrooms around them. Debbie also told us that some say they are on the “north side of a south slope”. We spent a good chunk of our hunting time thinking on that one and could never come up with such a thing. It gave us some good laughs as we looked at a slope and tried to decide what was the north side and which was the slope. Most of the mushrooms we found on a slope were on the east creek bank but we found just as many on the flat ground in little thickets of trees that are between the corn fields.
Since mushrooms reproduce through spores, looking for them where the wind would carry the spores is really the crux of mushroom hunting. It is also what makes it so hard to find them - who knows where the wind blows and where those little spores are going to land and take root? Debbie fried us up a bunch of mushrooms before we left and here is her “almost world famous morels” recipe. She tried to send some to her son Mike who was stationed in the military and Mike told her the entire box was leaking and smelled awful. Doesn’t that sound a little like the mana from heaven that the Israelites in the bible tried save? God provides our daily bread (and morels).
Debbie’s Fried Morels
1 to 20 morels
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak the morels in 4 cups water and 3 tablespoons salt for ½ hour to 2 hours (to remove any hidden bugs). Pat dry with a towel, cut each morel in half. Dip in egg and roll in flour, salt and pepper mixture. Saute in butter for 3 to 5 minutes on each side.