By Larry "Tree" Lonik
The Ultimate Mushroom Hunting Weekend Package for May
It's Spring - The birds are singing, Mother Nature is waking up from a long winter's nap. You can't wait to get out to your favorite spot...no-not the fishing hole..... Your favorite mushroom spot. This trip, instead of poles, tackle, and bait, you're packing "Team Morel Sporebag" bags, hiking shoes, and your love of the hunt. With your sporebag belted on you, walking through the woods looking for that elusive morel, the mushroom that looks like a sea sponge hiding in the woods. There's one, there's another, and before you know it you have become the "Johnny Sporebag" seeding the forest with air-born spore coming out of the mushrooms of your mesh bag. Assured now of future generations of fruit you happily meander through the woods finding little families of morels.
With a happy heart and a bag full of the prized catch-of-the-day you head home. No one saw you come out of the woods- your spot is safe for another day.
The adage "a bad day fishing is still better than a good day working" is true for morel mushroom hunting. Eitherway if you get a pan-full you've got your prize. However, if you come upon a motherlode or would just like to preserve some for later use sun drying is the best method.
Mushroom hunting is one of the least expensive of all outdoor sports. No special equipment is needed. There is no license to procure. Comfortable clothes and a receptacle in which to place your find are the basic requirements, although certain preparations will make your outing safer and more enjoyable.
Wear comfortable, preferably old, clothes. Long pants and long sleeves are highly recommended to prevent direct exposure of your skin to threatening plants (brambles, poison ivy, etc.) and insects. Be aware of the irregular weather that has tremendous variance at this time of year. In Michigan, it can be 70 degrees or snow. Shoes should be waterproof and comfortable. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, wear your glasses. Protective eyewear (plastic safety shield) can be worn to keep errant branches and spider webs out of the eyes. Wearing hand protection (garden gloves) and a hat can be advantageous.
Carry an onion sack or some type of mesh bag. There are now mesh bags specifically designed to help protect your harvest and allow spore to be released back into the forest. This is particularly important when your hunting areas you want to go back to year after year as predictable, favorite spots. The "Team Morel SporebagTM is an excellent example of a bag designed with all these considerations. Air circulation and avoidance of moisture are essential in keeping your morel catch fresh. Never use a plastic bag. Never put your find in a warm or humid place (car trunk, for example). Morels will deteriorate rapidly if not kept cool and dry after they are picked.
A walking stick (brought or easily found at most foraging sites) can be of assistance in clearing paths, as a walking aid, as a wet-area probe and for moving grasses and leaves in your pursuit. I also, always bring a camera.
Use other rules of common sense dictated by the activity you are undertaking. Since you will be in unfamiliar territory, it is wise to bring maps and a compass, and a whistle. For the same reason it is a good idea to never go mushrooming alone. A small pack with food and water can be very helpful. Bring a watch and keep track of time, allowing ample return time. Be sure to have plenty of gasoline in your vehicle. A chain or a winch and tools offer additional insurance, as some of the "less-than" roads in the Spring can be treacherous.
Now that you know precisely and positively what you're after and have properly prepared for a safe and successful excursion, a few more hints and precautions will enable you to best pick, prepare and preserve any and all morels you are fortunate enough to come across.
Some suggest having scissors or a sharp knife to snip morels off just above the ground. It is important to not disturb the mycelium by pulling the mushroom entirely from the ground, but pinching the very base of the stem, carefully and cleanly, is probably sufficient. Keep your collection as free from dirt as possible. Morels, amazingly, push through the forest floor with no loose soil or grit on them. Try to keep them that way.
For more information about Mushroom Hunting, Recipes or Books about
Team-Morel, a website dedicated to mushrooms.
Greetings fellow morel lovers.
It is time to hit the woods and gather in those beautiful wonderful morels. Now is your chance to join us for an exciting weekend of hunting and eating these wonderful treats. Join John and Theresa Maybrier and give them a call at (816) 746-4066 for more information. This is fun for all ages.
Visit our site here: http://www.team-morel.com/