May is Morel Season in Michigan … usually that is. In 2012, however, morel season has arrived early (click for photo evidence). Michigan’s morels are out there, so here’s a classic feature on Michigan morels to help you get out and find the mighty morchella!!
1 Morechella, true morels, are a honeycomb-like mushroom that are prized by chefs the world over. The Great Morel Homepage can take you a lot deeper with links about the science of these woodland delicacies. If you’re looking for information about hunting morels this feature on Leelanau.com has some great tips to help you hunt and to be a good citizen of Morel Nation. Ed Vielmetti in Ann Arbor has a bunch more thoughts on the hunt. MichiganMorels.com has tons of information as well about where to look, saying: Black morel habitats includes Ash, Fruit and Aspen trees (also known as: Popple or Poplar) or even lawns and fields.White (yellow) morels especially like Elm, Fruit trees, and Maple. And in southern Michigan, the Tulip Poplar tree is a good host.
2 When you find morels, you’re going to want to cook them. The easiest tip is to soak them and rinse very well – they do have a lot of “grit” – and then fry them in butter. You can of course do a lot more with them. Check that Leelanau.com article and the recipes page at The Great Morel (one suggests a Michigan Dry Riesling pairing – we couldn’t agree more!). Even if you don’t find morels, you can buy them from Michigan-based Earthy Delights. On their recipes page they offer several ideas including Spring Wild Harvest Ragout With Fiddlehead Greens & Morels!
3 Michigan loves its morels and we have two great morel celebrations. The annual Mesick Morel Festival is slated for May 11-13, 2012. Follow their Schroomers Log for updates on who’s finding what and where. The second is the National Morel Mushroom Festival in Boyne City that takes place May 17-20, 2012. When you click that link you’ll hear the strains of the Mushroomers Waltz, and when you visit the festival, you’ll have a chance to taste an incredible array of morel dishes and enjoy an experience much like Absolute Michigan did a few of years ago.
Although morels are early, Morelfest committee member Scott MacKenzie assures us that restaurants & chefs are storing up plenty for their featured Taste of Morels event. Scott says he’s starting to find black morels and adds “Who knows what Mother Nature has in store. The gal I was hunting with found one gray. If it stays cold, it may turn out just perfect. One thing is for sure: if you come up, I guarantee you’ll have a good time! Thornetta Davis is performing and there’s all kinds of fun to be found.”
4 Finding morels means knowing what they look like, and being able to distinguish them from poisonous false morels. You can see a whole bunch in the Michigan Morel Slideshow from the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr, including one from Sunday posted by the Honor Motel. Michigan in Pictures has a bagful of photos and articles about morels as well. If you want to share YOUR photos with us, add them to the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr or post them to the Absolute Michigan Facebook!
5 There’s a bunch of great videos out there on morels including a sweet time lapse of a morel growing over 8 days by Ken Scott, a nice tour of the Michigan woods in morel season, one with Zachary Trost and morel expert Tom Nauman and a very nice primer to morel hunting from Country Living. I have to go with my buddy Tony Williams and the Boyne City Morel Fest – enjoy and good hunting!!