How do morels recognize each other? What is the best way to edit them? How do these delicate mushrooms taste?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, it’s the right time to read our article!
Learn everything you need to know about these spring mushrooms, including where and when to find them, and why they’re so expensive!
What is a morel?
It is a type of wild mushroom with an earthy, nutty taste.
They have a meaty texture and are a highly sought-after ingredient among chefs and mushroom enthusiasts.
Individual species of this variety vary greatly in size and appearance. Their shape can range from oblong to bulbous and their color from light to dark gray.
They are easily recognizable by their external appearance, which resembles a honeycomb.
Like many species of other mushrooms, they have their doppelgangers, but they can be deadly poisonous. These mushrooms are reddish-brown to yellow in color, they are not hollow inside, like real morels.
Why are they so expensive?
When we say expensive, we mean really expensive. Their price starts at 500 CZK for 500 g of these mushrooms.
There are several reasons for this:
- They are hard to grow. Therefore, they are mostly collected in the wild, which means they are hand-picked.
- They have a short growing season. Morels are spring mushrooms that can be found from March to June, depending on climate, weather and altitude.
- It spoils very quickly.
What does a morel look like? (general characters)
- We find them growing under deciduous trees, for example under a dwarf willow.
- Its growing season ranges from March to the beginning of June.
- The external appearance resembles a honeycomb
- Hats are between 3 to 8 cm in diameter and 5 to 12 cm in height. They have an elongated vertically oval shape.
- The caps are hollow and irregularly covered with pits separated by thin bars.
- The color varies from light cream, through ocher to yellowish-brown or brown, darkening with age.
- The leg is white or light cream, sometimes covered with brown spots.
Types of morels
- This species grows from April to May
- It grows in areas where there are deciduous or mixed forests, along roads, bushes and alleys
- The hat is elongated in color from brown to grey-brown
- His leg is slightly wrinkled or has fine dimples. Most of the time it is white to cream in color
- The pith inside the hat is brown, in the leg it is white and remains the same when cut
- It has an unobtrusive smell and taste and is most often used in the kitchen to prepare stuffings, sauces and meat mixtures
- It grows in the period from April to May
- It grows mostly in larger groups near bushes, alleys, orchards and gardens, but also under deciduous trees such as ash, willow, poplar, cherry or apple trees
- The hat can be up to 5 cm high resembling a cone with prominent pits
- The leg is fragile, wrinkled and white in young mushrooms
- The pith is thin, fleshy and flexible. The inside of the hat is colored brown and the inside of the leg is white. It does not change color when cut
- It has a subtle taste and aroma and can be used to prepare baked dishes, pasta or light sauces
Health benefits of morels
In addition to their luxurious taste and texture, morels are packed with all kinds of vitamins and minerals. They generally contain large amounts of:
- vitamin D,
- vitamins E and B6
They are also high in antioxidants, fiber and protein and low in calories.
How to prepare morels?
|To prepare roasted morels in butter, clean them under cold water and quickly dry them. Then cut them up and cook them, like a simple sauté in butter, in which the unique qualities of the mushroom stand out best.|
|Add them to the mushroom sauce for our best grilled meat recipes .|
|Morels pair beautifully with asparagus and other spring vegetables that stand out in this mushroom risotto .|
|They are very good when fried in butter and served on toast with cream sauce.|
|They also excel in mushroom soup.|
|In general, however, these mushrooms are best with meaty dishes such as beef or pork and roasted vegetables.|
|Try also lightly frying them in butter, sprinkling them with ground pepper and salt. It perfectly complements meat and poultry dishes, soups or can be used in pasta. Add them to this simple and light pasta aglio olio , in which the flavor of morels stands out in an absolutely luxurious way!|
Pizza with morels and asparagus
- 450 g of pizza dough (make your own homemade dough according to our recipe)
- 500 g asparagus (chopped)
- 500 g of morel mushrooms (remove the stems and cut into bite-sized pieces)
- 4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
- 250 g of grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon of red pepper
- Pinch of salt
For garlic confit
- Whole garlic (separated and peeled)
- 30 ml of olive oil
- For the garlic confit, place the garlic cloves in a small saucepan and cover with olive oil. The garlic cloves should be submerged
- Slowly bring the oil to a boil and once it boils, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 45 minutes until the garlic is soft
- Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside. Save the oil for the pizza
- To prepare the pizza, place the rack in the very top position of the oven and turn it on to 220 degrees
- Remove one tablespoon of oil from the garlic confit and add to a large pan with 4 minced garlic cloves and red pepper
- Heat until fragrant, then add the morels and a pinch of salt and sauté for a few minutes
- Add the asparagus and another pinch of salt and cook for another 3-4 minutes
- Remove from the heat
- Shape the pizza dough into a pie
- Spread one spoonful of garlic confit on its surface
- Add the grated cheese, then add the morel and asparagus mixture
- Spread the confit garlic cloves on top
- Sprinkle with a little more salt
- Place the pizza in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly
- Remove and let cool slightly
How to store morels?
Fresh, unwashed morels should be stored in a paper bag and consumed as quickly as possible. You can also store them in the fridge for up to a week.
To extend their life, you can dry them by placing them in sunlight and turning them occasionally. Dried morels can be stored in an airtight container for up to six months. When you want to use them afterwards, simply sprinkle some water over them and wait.
Dried mushrooms can then be rehydrated by soaking them in warm water or milk for 10-20 minutes.
Dried morels can also be frozen and used later in soups or purees.
The best method for freezing them is “quick freezing”. Run cold water over them or put them in a bucket of water for a few minutes and let them soak, then spread them out on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer. However, they can sometimes be slightly mushy when thawed, so it’s best to freeze them after steaming or frying.