How to hunt Morel mushrooms to ensure a successful bounty of the prized mushrooms.

Discover tips & tricks for a spring afternoon you’ll love!

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Morel mushrooms are one of the most prized and delicious varieties of wild mushrooms. If you want an interesting, early morning or spring afternoon activity, hunting Morels should definitely be at the top of your list. Not only will you get some exercise, the thrill you’ll feel when you finally spot one of these little gems will make all of the hard work (and all of the walking) well worth it.

In some areas, Morel mushroom season begins in late March for early season morels. But as a general rule, most morel hunters will find their first morels of the season in early April, with the peak of the season happening in late April. In our region, because of the warm weather, the season typically comes to an end in early May. So this is definitely an activity where the exact right conditions need to be in place. 


Morel mushrooms are a true culinary delicacy. It can be difficult to locate true morels if you don’t know what you’re looking for or how to look for them. So, you’ll want to do a little research before you head out.  For the past few years, we’ve had the best time finding morels with our friends who are private landowners and whose acreage is full of morel spots. We spent a delightful spring afternoon with them hunting for morels on their private property. And we were rewarded with some great morel finds.

Our dear friends were fantastic hosts and have taught us a lot about these delicious wild mushrooms. If your considering heading out to attempt a few morel sightings of your own, here is some basic information about Morels. We’ve also detailed some great tips you’ll need to help you become a successful mushroom hunter.


Morel mushrooms are among the most valuable mushrooms you can find. They have been prized for centuries by mushroom hunters and chefs alike. In addition to their delectable woodsy taste, Morels have a distinct look and are best known for their honeycomb-like cap. In fact, the cap of a morel mushroom makes them stand out on forest floors and edges of wooded areas. They have a honeycomb appearance with ridges running down their stem and their cone-shaped cap. The most common varieties of morels include the golden yellow morel mushrooms (Morchella esculenta), black morel (Morchella elata), and white morel (Morchella deliciosa). Once you’ve gotten an idea of what the mushroom looks like, you can start your search.  

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Timing is everything when it comes to hunting morel mushrooms. Soil temperature is the key to successful morel hunts. These sought-after delicacies like to emerge from the thawing soil. So the spring season is the most ideal time of year to forage for morels. The exact moment morel season begins varies depending on climate and location. Typically, morel hunting season begins in early spring and extends into May. But know that yellow morels and black morels are fickle. They favor the perfect combination of warmth and moisture, which makes their growing season very finite. And it varies by area and climate. Traditionally morel mushroom season begins when daytime temperatures consistently reach 60 degrees and nighttime temperatures hover above 40 degrees. It’s the perfect time to lace up your boots, grab your walking stick, and head to the woods or state parks.


Morels have a penchant for certain environment. Traditionally, the best place to find morels is in hardwood forests. One good place to hunt for Morels is near dead or dying trees. These include elm, ash, maple, apple, beech, and oak trees. Some species of morels have been known to grow near the base of conifer trees such as spruces and hemlocks. They thrive in damp soil, in areas with partial shade near trees particularly elm, ash, and poplar. Wooded hillsides and hills near rivers, streams, and lakes are other great place to hunt. Morels also favor areas with recently burned or disturbed soil, such as forests recovering from wildfires or freshly plowed fields.

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More often than not, Morel mushrooms are incredibly difficult to spot amidst their natural surroundings due to their camouflage-like coloring. Their earthy color allows them to blend in perfectly with the dirt or dead leaves in which they thrive. This makes them particularly challenging for any mushroom hunter to find them in nature. It definitely takes an experienced eye. So patience and persistence are key to a successful morel hunt.

And of course, always be mindful of foraging safety guidelines when collecting morels from the wild. Be sure to know what other mushrooms look like in order to avoid picking poisonous ones by mistake. Also, leave some mushrooms behind so that the population can replenish itself. You’ll probably want to go Morel mushroom hunting again next year!

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As you set out on your Morel hunt, you’ll want to arm yourself with a net bag, a sharp knife, and a discerning eye. You’ve scanned the forest floor like a seasoned detective and you’ve spotted a precious morel. Be sure to handle it delicately, cutting it at the base rather than pulling it from the ground. This technique will help to create  future bounties for seasons to come. You’ll also want to make sure that it’s not attached to another mushroom before carefully picking off the soil. Place your treasure in your netted bag and keep looking. Morels are ofter found in groups!


The next step is to properly clean and prepare them for cooking. It’s critically important to properly clean Morel mushrooms before eating them. They may contain harmful bacteria or toxins which could make you sick. While cleaning morel mushrooms may seem intimidating at first, it’s actually a quite simple and straightforward process. You want to make sure you get rid of any bugs that may be hiding in the nooks and crannies of the mushroom. Start by soaking the mushrooms in cool water then brush away any dirt or debris on the surface using a soft brush. After you remove them from the water, give them a good shake. But be sure to take care not to over rinse the mushrooms as this can dilute their flavor. 

If you’re not planning to eat fresh morels right away, gently blot them with a paper towel to remove any excess water. You can store the cleaned mushrooms in a glass container or aluminum pan in the refrigerator until you use them. Simply cover them with a wet paper towel to keep them from drying out. Just know they may dry out quickly due to their high moisture content.

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Morels are best the first or second day after they are harvested. So you’ll either want to cook them shortly after you find them or freeze them for later use. You always want to cook morels thoroughly before eating. When cooking morels, be sure to use high heat and stir frequently until they are cooked through. This will help ensure that any harmful bacteria are destroyed and can help prevent foodborne illnesses.  

Some of the most popular ways to cook morels include steaming, sautéing, or frying. They can also be cooked into a variety of dishes such as soups, omelets, pastas, and much more. You can also add them to soups or stews. Their nutty flavor makes them great to add to a wide variety of recipes. We have made delicious cream sauces with our bounty. We’ve also added them to scrambled eggs for a truly delightful morning treat. Morels are said to contain potentially beneficial compounds. These include polysaccharides, which may play a role in immune system regulation, as well as antibacterial properties.

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We love to place this sauce on top of a filet or mix it with cooked pasta. It’s as easy as it is delicious. Enjoy! 

Finely chop 2 shallots and sauté them in 2 tablespoons of butter until translucent. Add one cup of morel mushrooms, sliced, to the shallots and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour in 1 cup of heavy cream, bring to a gentle simmer, and let it reduce by half, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste. For an extra layer of flavor, add a splash of dry white wine or a tablespoon of brandy. Once the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency, remove from heat and serve generously over your perfectly seared filet. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley for a burst of color and freshness. 


Unlike the true morel’s distinctive honeycomb cap and hollow stem, the false morel mushrooms present with a cap that is irregular, and often lumpy or wrinkled. Additionally, their stems are not hollow and instead filled with cottony fibers. These characteristics are the key ways to differentiate between the false morels and real morels. False morels are potentially toxic and poisonous mushrooms. They contain compounds that can be harmful if ingested, causing symptoms ranging from gastrointestinal distress to more severe neurological effects.

Before setting out on your foraging expedition, familiarize yourself with the distinguishing features of both varieties. Take the time to study field guides, attend workshops, or seek guidance from experienced foragers who can impart valuable knowledge. So during your treasure hunt, maintain a vigilant eye and exercise caution. You also want to pay special attention to the cap and stem characteristics. If there is any doubt about a specimen’s identity, err on the side of caution and refrain from harvesting it. Remember, it’s better to return home empty-handed than to risk ingesting a poisonous mushroom.

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Morel mushrooms are some of the most sought-after mushrooms in the world. They have a unique flavor and texture that has made them a favorite among chefs and foodies, gourmands, and chefs alike. But why are morel mushrooms so expensive? First, morel mushrooms are rare and hard to find in the wild, which makes them expensive. There are only a few species of morels that grow naturally in North America and Europe, so they can be difficult to come by. In addition, finding them requires a great deal of knowledge and experience. Foraging for these prized fungi requires hours spent wandering through forests and looking for their distinctive ridged caps – any misstep could mean missing out on potential finds. 

If you don’t want to go on a Morel mushroom hunting adventure, there are still a few ways you can still get your hands on these precious mushrooms without breaking the bank. For starters, you should always keep an eye out for farmers’ markets or specialty grocery stores near you that may carry fresh morels at a reasonable price. You can also join mushroom-hunting clubs in your area and take part in guided hunts to increase your chances of success. 


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