Homesteading

Picking Wild Morels

June 8, 2016 (Last Updated: July 7, 2019)

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Picking Wild Morels – Last summer’s forest  fires have yielded an amazing wild mushroom crop!

Wild Morel Mushrooms in a wooden bowl.

Last summer’s fires were devastating in the inland northwest. Yet from everything comes beauty.  These wild morel mushrooms are a result of last summer’s fires. Morel mushrooms grow every spring around us, but this spring has yielded amazing mushrooms. In locations where there was fire, the morels are popping up like….well…..wild fire!

A closeup shot of wild morel mushrooms.

We headed out to the burn areas to pick the mushrooms. It was amazing to see the fire damage and plants starting to come back. I was surprised to see how the fire traveled. It just touched certain areas and some were left untouched. I was so amazed at all the morels and  how different they everyone looked. They came in different sizes, colors, and patterns.

Burned forest area with green trees in the background.

The abundance of morel mushrooms were found in these burned areas.

A morel growing in rocking soil.

The mushrooms are hard to see because they blend into their environment. After a while you get used to what you are looking for and can spot them much easier. In an area with horizontal lines, the mushrooms shoot upwards. Some are just a few inches high. The large ones can be 4-6 inches high.

Wild mushroom growing alongside branches and cedar needles.

I used scissors to cut the mushrooms off at the ground level.  My husband used a knife. Both techniques worked. You do want to cut off the mushroom, rather than just popping it off the base.

A wild morel mushroom with a mini mushroom attached to it.

Picking wild morels was fun and rewarding. We ended up with a few gallons of mushrooms. Morels can be used with in any dish calling for mushrooms. Morels have a bit more of an earthy taste than a button mushroom and the texture is a bit different. I like to dice the mushrooms, saute them and add them to spaghetti sauce, omelettes or a cream of mushroom soup.

Morels on a dehydrator tray/

Rod was in charge of washing all the mushrooms. For the larger mushrooms, he sliced them in half lengthwise and he kept the smaller mushrooms whole. He rinsed all the mushrooms. They were a bit gritty and had pine needles stuck to them. We dehydrated whatever we didn’t eat right away.

Picking Wild Morels

So this last picture isn’t of morels, but I did take it while out morel hunting. It is the flower from a plant called bear grass. The grass is often sought after for fillers in flower arrangements, but the flower is simply beautiful. The forest was filled with these beautiful white flowers.

Please Note: Picking wild mushrooms can be dangerous. Please know your mushrooms before you pick. 

Other posts about collecting your own food include a post about Walleye Fish and Wild Blackberries. 

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29 Comments

  • Reply
    Kim | Low Carb Maven
    June 23, 2016 at 7:33 am

    How did I miss this lovely and informative post? Morels are so good sauteed in butter and herbs! What a nice experience hiking around the forest foraging. I would love that… Did you take a class or have you been hunting for mushrooms for a long time? I just find the whole thing fascinating. With the large haul, you will be enjoying morels all year!

    • Reply
      Kathy
      June 24, 2016 at 6:40 am

      No class…just my knowledgeable husband. He has been mushroom hunting for years.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    June 10, 2016 at 7:05 am

    How great that you can go out and pick these mushrooms! It sounds like a lot of fun. I’m just imagining how good the soup would be!

    • Reply
      Kathy
      June 11, 2016 at 6:39 am

      The soup was awesome. Hopefully I can share my recipe soon….just having some difficulty getting good pictures of the soup.

  • Reply
    Katie Crenshaw
    June 10, 2016 at 4:55 am

    Wow Kathy! What a very cool experience. That is awful about the fire, but very cool to be able to pick the wild mushrooms. They are gorgeous. I envy your stash! I am drooling over the possibilities of their use! This is a great post, so fascinating. Thanks for sharing your adventure!!

    • Reply
      Kathy
      June 10, 2016 at 5:13 am

      I just need to make certain I use my stash of mushrooms. Sometimes things get tucked back into my pantry and become forgotten!

  • Reply
    Anu - My Ginger Garlic Kitchen
    June 10, 2016 at 1:21 am

    That’s wonderful. Kathy. These posts are so informative. These wild mushrooms look so beautiful and dehydrating them sounds like the best idea ever.

    • Reply
      Kathy
      June 10, 2016 at 5:12 am

      Dehydrating extends the life of the mushrooms. It would be tough to eat that many otherwise.

  • Reply
    Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen
    June 9, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    Wow – I love reading these kinds of posts, Kathy. I was thinking nothing grows wild around here but pretty much every house in my neighborhood has some sort of citrus or fruit tree – so though not wild – it’s still pretty amazing the adundance of food that can be found and picked.

    • Reply
      Kathy
      June 10, 2016 at 5:11 am

      You are right…it is often all around us. I wish I could grow citrus here. It would never survive the winters.

  • Reply
    Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks
    June 9, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Wow! This is so interesting! I can’t believe you found gallons of mushrooms and what a great idea to dehydrate them for later. I’d probably poison myself trying to do forage for mushrooms! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Allie @ Miss Allie's Kitchen
    June 9, 2016 at 5:27 am

    Holy cow!!! These are so cool! I love this post and your blog. I’m entranced by those mushrooms.

    • Reply
      Kathy
      June 9, 2016 at 5:50 am

      Thanks! The mushrooms are amazing!

  • Reply
    Kate @ Framed Cooks
    June 9, 2016 at 4:54 am

    What gorgeous pictures!!!!!

  • Reply
    Laura ~ Raise Your Garden
    June 9, 2016 at 4:19 am

    I’m so jealous of your morel picking activity in the woods! We don’t have those there. When I first looked at the picture, I thought it was something from the sea, they look like coral almost! Very cool. Love the idea of getting free food this way. Such a cool post =)

    • Reply
      Kathy
      June 9, 2016 at 4:47 am

      I love foraging for free food! Plus it doesn’t get any more natural than this!

  • Reply
    Adina
    June 9, 2016 at 12:09 am

    You are so lucky to be able to pick morels, I have only read about them in cook books, but never seen them live actually. I wanted to buy dried ones once, but they are soooooo expensive, I let it be.

    • Reply
      Kathy
      June 9, 2016 at 4:48 am

      I can only imagine what they might cost. Our dried ones really shrunk to almost nothing.

  • Reply
    Kathy
    June 8, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Where in the fire areas do you live? We’re outside of Ione, WA and while I haven’t been out I’ve heard others saying they’ve found lots of morels as well.

    • Reply
      Kathy
      June 8, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      I’m about 2 hours east of you….in Northern Idaho. I believe your area was much harder hit with the fires. I’m sure there are lots of morels in your area.

      • Reply
        Kathy
        June 8, 2016 at 8:08 pm

        Yes, we were ‘surrounded’ by fires, but thank the Lord the closest came no nearer than 5 miles away. I’ll have to ask friends to check some of the nearer burned areas for mushrooms. With all the blessed rain we’ve been getting this year I imagine it will be a great mushroom year.

  • Reply
    Dawn @ Girl Heart Food
    June 8, 2016 at 10:43 am

    This is so awesome, Kathy….picking your own mushrooms! And you got a lot too! I’ve never had this variety before, but I LOVE all kinds of mushrooms. I would definitely love to have them in cream of mushroom soup, perhaps topped with some crΓ¨me fraiche and chives πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Kathy
      June 8, 2016 at 5:42 pm

      I think I have a lot of mushrooms now!

  • Reply
    annie@ciaochowbambina
    June 8, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Such a beautiful case in point, that “from everything comes beauty.” I love that and this post! Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply
      Kathy
      June 8, 2016 at 5:42 pm

      Thanks!

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    June 8, 2016 at 5:05 am

    Wow, what awesome pictures Kathy! Sounds like you and Rod had an interesting trip. Amazing how such beauty can come from all that devastation. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Kathy
      June 8, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      It takes years for a forest to rebound, but it does happen in small steps.

  • Reply
    David @ Spiced
    June 8, 2016 at 4:54 am

    Wow, this is awesome, Kathy! I’ve always wanted to know how to forage, but I’m too afraid that I’ll go out and pick something poisonous b/c I don’t know what I’m doing. And good thought about beauty coming from everything. πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Kathy
      June 8, 2016 at 4:59 am

      There are a lot of poisonous mushrooms out there. There’s even a “false morel”. It’s best to always go with someone who knows what they are doing.

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