Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Madness for Mushrooms Has Arrived

Morel mushroom slightly larger than a baseball in its natural habitat
I originally had a post about a particular aspect of my time in New York City and surrounding area but I pushed it back a couple more days to share my traditional post about the mushroom madness that I succumb to every year about this time plus a couple weeks. This year has been so warm that everything is two weeks ahead of schedule.

This picture was taken on Easter Sunday when I was at last able to get out into the woods to hunt for then little fungi I love to eat. Because of the dry spring we have been having, carried over from the dry summer, fall and winter we recently had, I wasn't expecting much. Although I was surprised that we did find quite a few, it was still a lackluster performance compared to recent years. We didn't find any gray morels which are the first morels of the season to appear. However we found their larger and yellowed colored cousins scattered throughout the woods. Normally we would find a 'mushroom machine' which is the term I give for a recently dead elm tree and you would be able to pick a dozen or more mushrooms from near its base. But this year with the dry conditions, we only were able to find three or four morels under any mushroom machines that we located. Added to those we just find scattered throughout the woods, we ended up with a smaller than normal harvest of perhaps three pounds. My share of the loot fit into a 2.5 gallon ice cream container which is enough for a half dozen good messes to cook up.

I cooked up the first mess last night by sauteeing them on the grill with some fresh picked asparagus and some mushroom burgers. I topped the burgers with more morels, placed them between a pair of grill toasted buns and ate the asparagus on the side. Life just doesn't get any better.

15 comments:

kymber said...

oh yummy! we haven't had the chance to get out looking for mushrooms yet - but we will! your burger sounds delicious!

your friend,
kymber

Ed said...

Kymber - Last night it was 9 degrees below freezing here so I'm guessing our mushroom season is officially over just after it started. Do morels grow up that far north or do you hunt other types of mushrooms?

sage said...

The word around here is that it hasn't been a particularly good year. A friend of my told me he'd read that morels pop up after a good thunderstorm and we had a dandy last week. He went out the next day and decided that there was no truth to that tale!

Ed said...

Sage - Moisture is one part and the right soil temperatures it the other part. Down here we have the right soil temps but not the moisture. Since you are farther north than us, I'm guessing the soil temps are a bit too cold yet.

R. Sherman said...

Do you do cheese on the burgers? Mushroom cheese burgers (Swiss or Bleu) are to die for.

Cheers.

Ed said...

R. Sherman - I do and they did. I got these burgers made fresh at the local meat counter with mushrooms and swiss cheese built in. So I just grilled them and topped them with morels.

Ed said...

I should have taken a picture of them. I guess I was just too hungry and they were too tastey to take the time to do so!

Ers said...

wow! love mushrooms but i have never tasted fresh ones from the ground.

: )

Ers said...

wow! love mushrooms but i have never tasted fresh ones from the ground.

: )

Ed said...

Kamusta Ers. Mushrooms taste so good when harvested from the ground versus the ones found in the grocery stores over here in the U.S. Also, morel mushrooms taste so much better than any other kind of mushroom that I have ever eaten. Factor both those things together and they are a culinary treat to eat.

warren said...

Gee whiz! I haven't even gotten out this year! We've been wet enough but time is just killing me!

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I'd be nervous about picking mushrooms. There are so many kinds down here that are either poisonous or halucinogenic.

My son has a little dog, and when he gets taken for a walk, he jumps into evey pile of leave in the area and come out chewing mushrooms. His mouth froths from the mushrooms, and he looks a little scary. (And by the time he finishes his walk, he is often as high as a kite.)

Three Score and Ten or more said...

My son read this comment and told me I was off base. His little dog eats as many as fifteen mushrooms out of one leaf pile and just loves them. She gets high from catching toads. It is while chewing a toad her mouth froths and her eys go unfocussed and she staggers. (She _note the chnge in pronoun here- only has three legs to begin with so she makes staggerin an art.)

Three Score and Ten or more said...

My son read this comment and told me I was off base. His little dog eats as many as fifteen mushrooms out of one leaf pile and just loves them. She gets high from catching toads. It is while chewing a toad her mouth froths and her eys go unfocussed and she staggers. (She _note the chnge in pronoun here- only has three legs to begin with so she makes staggerin an art.)

Ed said...

3 Score - Morels are very easy to identify from their poisonous brethren which don't grow up here in these parts anyway. Morels have hollow stems where their poisonous brethren have solid stems. Because of their easy identification, they are one of the few mushrooms I eat from the wild.

I have never seen my dog high off mushrooms and he ate his share but then I wouldn't go so far to say it could never happen. Wrong mushroom and all bets are off.