Thursday, May 6, 2010

Back on the subject of 'shrooms

And here's another thing about morel foraging....

I get that these folks want to pick as many as they can so they can make as much money off of them as possible. I mean, $35-50/lb? It's hard to resist! But I mostly think of it as, "Hey. Look at all this money I didn't spend!"

But the point I'm trying to make in the middle of all this rambling, is that people make me crabby (clearly that's what I was getting at). It's always said that one should leave a few mushrooms out there so they can spread their spores and you'll have a reliable spot for next year. But I'm pretty suspicious that there are an awful lot of people out there who don't... particularly on public land. If it's public land then anyone can go there and collect (various rules and regulations may prohibit this, but you know what I mean). But generally speaking, if it's public land it's pretty much first come first serve.

So suppose that you've found this sweet spot, but when you find it all the morels are small. You take note of the location and leave them there so they can get bigger. And the next time you go there, they're all gone! All of them! You can't really stake a claim on morels on public land, but you know the general "rules" of morel "hunting." Anyone who goes morel hunting knows the rules. And leaving some for sporing is at the top of the morel hunters' moral code.

But what if by the time you find the spot, 3 other people found it before you? If there are only two mushrooms there do you leave one? But if you only take one, that's hardly enough to saute and throw on a burger. How do you know?
I don't know.

But I have a nagging suspicion that I'm not making any sense. So I'll stop typing now and go to bed. But first....
I always feel like my blog is naked if there isn't a picture. This is dinner a few nights ago.

It was delicious.


Morel madness, that is.

I don't have too much to say about the subject other than, "I've got it bad."

The craziest thing about morels (at least in my experience) is that you only find them when you're not trying to. I do realize that there are commercial morel "hunters." (I once told my boyfriend he was actually foraging, and he wasn't too pleased with my terminology. They usually do go by morel hunters, though. It's not really hunting at all.)... side tracked again. So there are these commercial morel hunters who go around and collect as many morel mushrooms as they can, and then they sell them for ridiculous amounts of money. I saw some at the farmers' market for $35/lb! My friend's brother-in-law is a chef somewhere and once told her he'd pay $50/lb for some.
What was my point?
Hmmm... oh! My point was that even though there actually are lots of morels out there, and there are some people who find enough to sell, that I only find them on accident.

Today was a burn day at work, so we were burning a few prairies and small woodlots. Well, when we're done making fire we have to put it out so we can go home. And in the middle of mop up (which is what we call putting out the rest of the fire) I screamed a little. Just a little scream, a scream of excitement. And then I screamed again.. and again.

And this is what I screamed at...
Then this:
Then this:
Then this:
There were morels all over the place and most of them had been, at least a little bit, charred in the fire.

I took a good portion, everybody got some actually, and when my boyfriend looked in the bag when I got to his place, all he said was, "These smell like smoke."
Well, they did just survive a fire. Kind of survive a fire. Well, there was definitely fire on them.

I washed them.... and they still smell a bit smoky.

I lost my point again. Partly because I'm really tired and partly because I'm generally a little bit of a scatter-brain.

But I think I'm stealing Angela's idea and these will end up in a wild rice/morel dish. Mmmm... I'm hungry.