Black Morel (Morchellaceae, Pezizales) by Captain Quinn

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My first morel hunt had me bent at the hip walking around like an ostrich trying to find a good hole to hide his head in.  I proceeded like this for hours until I finally had to take a break succumbing to a pretty bad headache from straining my senses too hard. "Where the heck are those little things?" I was convinced that I was either too early in the season or too late, not in the right spot or not looking in the right spots.  However, I was determined so I carried on anyways. Finally my eyes focused on this little black honeycomb like thing sticking out of the ground on the side of a bank.  My heart started to race and as my eyes adjusted to the contrast, I began to see more and more and more of these delicious mushrooms. It was like an Easter egg hunt and I was filling my sack, just as excited to find the next one.  I took a bunch of photos, incase I couldn't find anymore than at least I had documentation of where I found them before and would hopefully be able to use that to find them again in the future. Through my studies I read that mushrooms have to spread their spores in order for more mushroom to grow, so I left about every 5th one that I found.  That way I could come back next time and enjoy the same awesome excitement.  When, I figured I had enough, about 2 dozen, I returned to my trailer in Northern B.C. were I was living for the summer with 3 other great friends, forest fire fighting.  I fried up the mushrooms with a a dollop of butter and a little salt and pepper.  Once cooked, I drizzled them over a steak and shared the flavor with my awesome roommates.  They all loved it, and I can't wait to go picking morels again.

Look how well they blend in to their surroundings!

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Not well enough to elude the dinner menu though!

 Identifying Features

 A black-ribbed honeycomb like cap resting atop a whitish to off-whitish stalk.  The stem is is hollow and thick.  

-Cap is 2-4cm wide and 2-5cm tall.

-This mushroom does not have any gills, instead it has yellowish pits much like a honeycomb, it shoots it's spores out of these pits.

-Stalk is 5-10cm long and 2-4cm thick and hollow.

This mushrooms is very tasty and can be found in coniferous woods, especially spruce. Most of the ones I have found have been spotted amidst young poplar stands. They are also found in association with pines and can be abundant in recently burned areas.  Sandy soils seem to be favored by these elusive little shrooms. These mushrooms beat the rest of them out of the ground and appear from April to May and in Northern regions into June. The black morel is the first true morel to appear in the spring. It has been known to cause stomach upset especially if consumed with alcohol.

Some Black Morel Recipes

I find the Black Morel to be very rich in taste and excellent in sauces. However, there are many different equally as tasty ways you can choose to enjoy this tasty treat from the woods.

The following is a very long list of awesome recipes you can use to cook your harvest of morels:

The Great Morel-A Tribute to Shroomers

captain quinn

Promoting the outdoors to save the outdoors through outdoor entertainment. I hope to get people outside doing fun things so they can develop a healthy relationship with the environment.