Archive for wild food foraging

The Morel of the Story

Posted in Food, Glorious Food with tags , , , , , , on May 22, 2012 by davegerry

Morels in May

Tis morel time here in the Eastern forests. In fact, with above normal temperatures across most of Southern Ontario this Spring, the morels are probably done for the season. I was talking about these bits of gastronomic magic at work last week and none of the other co-hosts had ever tasted a morel.

It  is a difficult flavour to describe . The first time I tried it was as a child and my father gave me a big pile of sautéed morels on toast. It was too much, really. It was overwhelming. In fact, I rather enjoyed hunting for morels with my Dad more than actually eating them. For me, the thrill was in the chase, not on the plate.

I became a virtual sleuth of the forest floor. The morels appeared in the woods behind our home for only a brief period (right around the Victoria Day holiday weekend) and you could never count on them being in the same location the following Spring. That made them a bit mysterious to my childhood sensibilities. I thought everything in that forest was tinged with magic…but nothing more so than the morel.

I will always remember the day that, while wandering alone along a path, I hit the morel mother lode. There were so many of the mushrooms amid the ferns and the bloodroot and the trilliums that I couldn’t carry them. There were far too many for my pockets. So I took off my t-shirt, tied the sleeves and the neck hole shut and loaded the improvised bag with morels.

My father could not believe the haul.We dried many of the morels and kept them sealed in mason jars for flavour bursts in the months to come. And we must have had the inevitable pile of them on toast, or in some pasta…or, even better, with a good mess of scrambled eggs. I don’t remember the specifics. But I will never forget the look on my father’s face when I plunked the overloaded t-shirt down on the porch.