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The morel is the considered the holy grail of spring mushrooms by experienced mushroom foragers.

The taste of morels is often described as earthy and nutty, woodsy and toasted. The flavour is rich and deep and their texture is meaty but in a tender way.

Morels usually appear in Western Canada in the mid-to-late Spring, in mid-to-late May and June.

The black morels (Morchella elata) are often the first morels to appear on south-facing slopes in the spring. They have a dark brown or almost black cap and you will find them in large colonies around ash trees, coniferous forests and areas where there were wild fires the summer before.

Yellow morels (Morchella esculenta) are more common and they appear slightly later in the spring. They are yellow-capped and you will find them under deciduous trees such as ash, aspen, elm, and oak. They are also often spotted at the bottom of standing dead trees.

Here are some fun facts about morels:

Foraging Morels

1. The morel is one of the easier wild mushrooms to identify due to its honeycomb-shaped cap.

2. The lovely flavour of morels is not just appreciated by humans; grizzly bears also eat morels.

3. If you don’t cook morels, they could make you sick because they may contain thermolabile toxins.

4. Be mindful of morel doppelganger known as “false morels” that have a brain-like texture.

5. Morels have been surrounded by folklore and mythical tales for centuries, often associated with luck, fertility, and even magical properties.

6. They are notoriously challenging to cultivate in mushroom farms, which makes them very expensive

7. Finding a big crop of morels is like hitting the jackpot as they can go for as much as $50 a pound and $1000/day foraging on a good day!

8. Morels form a mycorrhizal relationship with the roots of certain trees, such as oak, elm, and ash.

9. Morels grow in clusters after warm rain or when thunderstorms bring bolts of lightning to the ground.

10. There are nearly 70 known species of morels in the world. Around 30 are endemic to North America.

I hope you enjoyed these fun facts about morel mushrooms. Do you know any interesting facts about morels? Please share them in the comments.

Kyle Pearce

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