Newsletter April 2019

Newsletter April 2019

“Top Morel Hunting Tips and Interesting Facts”


  1.      Morels grow slowly, up to 3-weeks. 

2. Morels have toxins and can cause sickness RAW. After sauteing 3-4 minutes, the toxins are released.
3. All species of morels except the landscaping morels are mycorrhizal, and are directly associated with specific tree species. They have a symbiotic relationship gaining sugars from the tree roots and helping the tree gain moisture during droughts.

5. Morel Species:
Black Morels are the first to appear,
usually about 7-10 days earlier than Morchella americana.
Soon after, the Half-Free Morels appear but they only grow for about 7-10 days. Many people mistake these for the similar Verpa but these are true morels and are completely hollow.

The small slender Morel, Morchella virginiana and Morchella diminutiva is usually the last Morel to show up. I have however found all 4 species in the same woods on the same day. This was due to a rapid warm up that caused them all to fruit at the same time…

6. False Morels, (Gyromitras and Verpas). All true morels are hollow:

Gyromitras and Verpas are not…

Above: Gyromitra caroliniana, sometimes called the red morel.

Above: Verpa bohemica

Below: Verpa sliced in half showing cottony substance.

Many people consume both of these false morel species. The species both contain much higher amounts of toxins than true morels. Eating these is something that I cannot recommend however I have eaten them with no ill effects. It is said that their toxins can  build up in your system over time and cause you harm. I once ran into an old timer morel hunter in Oklahoma. He had bags full of the red gyromitras. He told me he has eaten them his entire life. Good for him. Some people smoke cigarettes for 50+ years and never get lung cancer. Others get cancer from secondhand smoke. Everyone’s body acts differently. The risk is there no mistaken.
7. Morels can be damaged with a hard freeze.

8. How to freeze your extra morel mushrooms.

9. Want to ship some morels to a friend or relative?

10. Never pull them up by the roots, it can damage the mycelium.

Besides, why would you want all that dirt in your bag? When you pick an apple, do you break off the limb as well?

Use a knife or pinch off with your fingers.

11. Morels release thousands of spores…

12. Never pick them in plastic bags. Plastic will cause condensation and rapid spoilage. Use a mesh bag if possible and be Johnny Appleseed and spread their spores!
13. Store them in your refrigerator in a brown paper bag, unwashed! Sort and use the oldest ones first. Young firm morels may last up to 3 weeks!
14. Never soak your morels for more than 30 minutes in salt water. I NEVER soak them. This causes them to get soggy and spoil faster. If you must, soak just prior to using.


     I hope you have a wonderful season! Happy hunting! -Chris Matherly