Morel Mushrooms are Here!

Morel MushroomsMorels are seldom easy to find. Chances are this tasty gem has met your shadow during springtime walks in the woods. They are masters of concealment in dead leaves and under or around spring foliage. The average hunter may find 10 and walk past 100.

We start looking for morel mushrooms in early April when woodlot plants appear. Half-grown mayflowers are a good indicator of the required soil warmth when early morels start to pop up.

Early-season hunters should check southern hillsides and creek bottoms open to sunlight that quickly warms the soil. Warming trends make eastern areas productive. Morels do not grow by the sun, lacking chlorophyll the chemical that absorbs sunlight as energy to reproduce. Morels start popping up at dusk and grow through the night, but you will occasionally see one pop up during daylight hours. Northern spots are best when air temperatures heat up at the end of morel season.

Dying elm trees are said to produce a rotting root system that feeds morels. You may not find morels in the same spot after the roots are rotted away. Don’t limit your search to only elms. Check unlikely areas. The darn things could pop up anywhere. Apple trees are possibilities because constantly rotting fruit can help produce morel mushrooms.

Areas with good leaf matting, typically under trees that drop their leaves and bark earlier in the fall and have longer to decay consistently produce. Light-colored barked trees like birch, sycamore and cottonwoods are good examples while the earlier mentioned dying elm trees may only produce morels for a year or two.

Plenty of moisture mixed with temperatures in the high 60s to low 80s are perfect conditions for good mushroom growth. April and early May provides all of this with warm rain and mid overnight temperatures. Morel mushrooms are temperature sensitive.

Dry springs seldom produce exceptional morel mushroom numbers. More grow when it is wet, but some will grow no matter what. You might still find morels in good numbers, but they may not grow as large.

If you don't want to go hunting for Morels, you can always come to Balaban's to enjoy them.  We have just received our first shipment of morel mushrooms. Morels and Truffles are the aristocrats of the forest, imparting a deep rich flavor.  We are presenting the Morels, as usual, in our exquisite Morel Mushroom pasta - featuring a ruby port cream wine sauce and fresh linguine pasta.  Morel Mushroom Pasta and Balabans has been a St. Louis tradition since 1972



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