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gathering morels?

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As I understand it, morels are one of the only types of mushrooms safe for a relative novice mushroom gatherer to eat, as they don't resemble anything poisonous. Is this true?
I recently spotted a fairly decayed clump of morels in a neighbor's yard and now I'm plotting to return and find some fresh ones, hopefully. Is there anything I should know? Do you rinse them before using?

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  1. There are several varieties of morels. Most are safe, but some cause gastrointestional problems and some are unsafe. Then there are the "False" Morels, some of which are safe and most are poisonous.

    1. I found *one* itty bitty morel under some piles of leaves in front of the garage.
      It was unmistakable. Nothing looks like morels. Yes, I rinsed it, patted it dry, then sauteed it in butter. mmm.

      7 Replies
      1. re: grocerytrekker

        Here are pictures of a morel and a false morel

        (from ohiosevere.com and sunflower.com)

         
         
        1. re: grocerytrekker

          Those pics are nice and all but I have three guides to mushrooms in front of me and there are 8 false morels in it ans several look exactly like true morels, and there are 7 true morels in it and some look like each other and some don't. 1of the true morels will make you ill, 1 makes some people have gastric distress. Of the false morels 2 are poisonous, several are edible, and several make some people ill or the effects are unknown.

          1. re: JMF

            The REAL guiding factor, one which a false morel never is, is hollow inside.

            If you think it looks like a morel, smells like a morel and when sliced open, is hollow, then you are probably holding a morel.

            Try this link. It is very clear and easy to read.

            1. re: Quine

              About rinsing - we get a lot of morels where I live in the Pacific NW (yet another blessing) - and they are little buggy condos - they have so many nooks and crannies. They also have tough flesh, for mushrooms, so I always immerse them in water for at least an hour to encourage the residents to vacate before I dry, slice and cook them. They are fabulous.

              1. re: rcallner

                I add some salt to the water to help the bugs decide to move on.

              2. re: Quine

                Is there supposed to be a link, Quine?

                1. re: maria lorraine

                  Indeed there was to be a link! Sorry! I did not get the first one I meant to post, but this one has good clear pictures..

                  http://americanmushrooms.com/morels.htm