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In Season in Spring:  Wild Morel Mushrooms

 

Jump to:-    Buying and Storing Fresh Morels  |  Preparing & cooking Fresh Morels  |  Editor's Choice Top 3  Spring Wild Morel Mushroom Recipes

 

See also:    Spring Cooking and Recipes

 


Morel Mushrooms have always been a highly prized fungi. From the same family as truffles, they are found in moist areas, often around dying or dead Elm trees, Sycamore and Ash trees and are in season in the UK between April and July.

 

One of the more easily identifiable wild fungi, morels have a hollow, honeycombed, cone-shaped cap and  comes in a colours ranging from light grey or beige to very dark brown/black. The stems are also hollow making the whole mushroom highly suitable for stuffing. In general, they range in size from 5cm/2-inches to 20cm/8-inches long.

 

Interestingly, the honeycomb cap is due to the fact that the Morels are still in the process of evolving from a single celled organism (a yeast) into a multi-celled organism.

Flavour wise, morel mushrooms add a very distinctive, meaty flavour to recipes from simple scrambled eggs to haut cuisine recipes and are well worth going out of your way to obtain.

It is also possible to grow your own wild morels if you don’t have access to a local wood by means of special kits which are obtainable online.


 

Buying and Storing Fresh Wild Morel Mushrooms

 

Only purchase morel mushrooms that look fresh and dry. The caps should be intact with no tears, or shrivelling and the stems should be firm, white and blemish free. Avoid any which feel slimy or has anything more than an earthy odour. Fresh morel mushrooms will keep for up to three days if refrigerated. Always store in a paper bag. Do not store in a plastic bag or clingfilm as this tends to make them sweat and deteriorate more quickly.

 

Freeze if you must. Best sautéed in butter and cooled before freezing in small quantities.

 

Preparing and Cooking Fresh Wild Morel Mushrooms

 

Cleaning morel mushrooms can be a fiddly affair as the honeycombs retain more earth than traditional mushroom gills. They also attract little insects. Do not soak any wild mushrooms for any length of time but rather knock off as much debris as possible before washing under cold running water, using a small brush to clean the combs if they are very dirty. Dry well on kitchen paper.

 

Smaller mushrooms can be left whole of halved lengthways. Larger specimens should be cut into strips unless they are to be stuffed in which case cut in half lengthways.

 


Editor's Choice:  Top 3 Spring Season Morel Mushrooms

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1

Morels Au Gratin

A delicious hot starter which pairs the earthy flavour of wild morels with medium sweet sherry mixed with cream and grilled for a crispy top.

 

 

2

Morel and Bacon Rosti

Grated potatoes, bacon and morel mushrooms give this Rosti extra flavour. An excellent recipe if you don't have many morels - only uses 8 to serve 4.

 

 

3

Fettuccine with Morels

A simple vegetarian main course which makes the most of the full flavour of spring season morel mushrooms.

 

 

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