A Tale of Morels

Check this out. My wife, who’s doing the gardening in our household, found three Morel mushrooms in our back yard! What’s going on? Are we sitting on a gold mine and not know it?

It is amazing how many interesting wild things can grow in our small backyards. The only thing is to just look for them. Pretty soon we’ll stop going to the grocery store to buy our produce. That would be heaven in the Chicago Northwest Suburbs. Well, at least a hint.

Now, if I can convince the mayor that there is no harm in having a small chicken farm in our backyard. And probably a cow and a goat in one side of the garage. Fresh eggs, fresh milk and so on. After all, we live in Organic America! Everyone in urban Romania has a mini-farm in one degree or another. They cannot afford living otherwise.


What’s A Morel Mushroom?

Wikipedia teaches us that:

Morchella, the true morels, is a genus of edible mushrooms closely related to anatomically simpler cup fungi. These distinctive mushrooms appear honeycomb-like in that the upper portion is composed of a network of ridges with pits between them.

Morel You got that? Yeah – a little too scientific to my tastes – but the only thing you need to remember is that a Morel mushroom is EDIBLE and looks like Oblio‘s brain. And boy, how delicious it can be! They are coveted by gourmet cooks and mushroom aficionados (called “Shroomers“) and there are yearly pilgrimages to hunt them down.

There are two types of morels that are popular. The yellow morel (Morchella esculenta) and the black morels (Morchella elata).

If you are lucky enough to find some consider yourself very special, because you found some of the tastiest mushrooms on Earth, that otherwise would cost you a fortune.

A Few Tips On Hunting Morel Mushrooms

There is a very small window of time and depending on what state you are in, it can range from March to May, even June. I live in Illinois so the time (mid April) is just right. Now, it also depends on your local weather, how long cold lingers around etc.

Although morel mushroom locations are highly kept secrets by shroomers, there are a few useful tips on hunting morels for us beginners:

  • Identify the time window for Morel harvest in your geographic location.
  • Locate regions that had a forest fire in the last 2-3 years
  • Look for apple trees or apple orchard remnants
  • Search around dead elm, cottonwood logs
  • Start your foray after a good rain or two


There’s more science into finding the morels than in preparing them. A common way is simply to fry them in butter as in the video below. Then of course there’s the cuisine of France or Provençal with some elaborate ways of cooking.

If you get the chance to find fresh morels, don’t waste time with drying or storing. Cook them right away and enjoy their freshness, since these occasions are very rare!

Grow Morels Yourself!

If you are like my wife Stephanie, or me, and have a backyard, you will want to look into buying a Morel Habitat Kit. The kit is not cheap ($29.95 plus shipping) but chances are that you can get a pretty decent crop every spring. There is minimal work and maintenance to do. You might need some dead logs for the inoculation process.

Apparently morel habitats can be started in any soil and geographical location that has a defined transition from winter to spring. This is what we’ll be doing next year and strongly encourage you too! Just one big WARNING:


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

10 thoughts on “A Tale of Morels”

  • How lucky are you!!! Was that you in the video? (we really do need smell-o-vision!)

    It’s funny because here in Telluride, the mushroom hunters are a secret society, and they talk in code! Here’s a sample of their verbage: “Remember the site X which was 30 feet from site Z, well if you turn 45 degrees from that spot, behind the second log to the left you will find a gold mine!”


  • Hahahahah – Heidi! That’s hilarious! The Morel hunters are indeed a strange breed!

    Nope – that’s not me in the video – lol… I just found that on YouTube and thought it is a nice representation of morel hunting. Thanks for the post!!!


  • Mushroom hunters? That is so unheard of! lol I’m from new york city so it’s a rarity to hear about hunting for mushrooms. I will keep my eye out for morels mushrooms 🙂

  • Oh my goodness! SO lucky! 😀 Thanks for all the great info. I’m guessing I’m not going to hunt any here in the wilds of urban Boston…Love, love, love morels, though!


  • Looks like you hit the mushroom lottery!

    Oddly enough, when I was scoping out treasures at the local thrift shop today, I saw a modern teapot from Ireland which had a morel “button pull” on the lid.

    Culinary synchronicity!

  • Jessie: I bet there are shroomers in NYC!! People there know what is good 😉

    Jessie The Hungry Mouse: You never know. Try taking walks in your closest forest preserves, and walk of the path here and there. You never know when you’ll trip over a pot of Gold!!

    Hugging The Coast: AHA! That’s a sign worth taking in consideration! Thanks!! Hehe 🙂

    Joan: Thanks for the comment! Now we might have For Sale signs with a mention over it saying “Morel Sightings in This Neighborhood!” Ha! A seller in itself!

    Thanks all for the comments! This is great fun!


  • Wow – so awesome that you have them in your backyard. I love morels. The only place I can “hunt” them is at the farmer’s market around April or May. 🙂

    I live in NYC where there are few or no yards. However, I was talking to someone recently who was telling me that her friend was getting into foraging for wild edibles in parks. So maybe you could hunt mushrooms here – if you know what you’re looking for.

  • Christy,

    You definitely NEED to know what you are hunting for. And this is a field where one should not be take any risks – there are many “impersonator” mushrooms that look very close to the real one to turn out they are at best just bad tasting if not outright poisonous.

    thanks for the post!


  • Ha! If the Shroomers find out about your morel patch you can kiss those babies goodbye! lol Was this the first time you had morels in your garden? As for keeping a few chickens, a cow, some goats and a sheep or two, I’m with you on that brither! 🙂 A very informative shroom posting, thank you, Gabi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *