Loose Morels

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Spring is Morels season in the Ozark. Morels were the topic of one conversation we had with a native here last year, and I have been looking forward to trying them ever since. I had to go to Jasper recently (small town) to the courthouse recently, and saw an old, crusty guy leaning against the counter chatting with the ladies, and what was the topic of conversation? “The Mushrooms.” A little later that same day, I went to the Motor Vehicle building and there was yet another old, crusty guy (yes, they seem to congregate in these parts) and he, too, was chatting with the ladies behind the counter about “The Mushrooms.” I’m not joking.

Morels are somewhat of a delicacy. They are a kind of mushroom that only grow in the Spring and only under the right conditions. I’ve read that they can’t be cultivated and can only be found in the wild. They can be found under certain kinds of trees, and often, in the same spot each year. They are also only found in certain states, Arkansas and Missouri being two of them.

 

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One of The Brethren was passing by on his four wheeler the other day. Bud saw him coming and met him on the road to chat, as they often do. He mentioned that he was just out ‘gathering his supper,’ and he reached back to the compartment of his four wheeler and proudly pulled out a ziplock bag of the strangest looking mushrooms I have ever seen. He gave us a quick (general) run down of where they could be found.

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While we were there chatting, his son drove by, his elbow hanging out the window with a big grin on his face. He pulled out an even fuller ziplock bag of much larger morels, and they started teasing each other about whose mushrooms were bigger and who had more. The son won, hands down, but he let his Dad off without too much teasing. We listened closely as they hinted at finding their stash at their ‘secret spot’ but they never came out and said exactly where they were found. Apparently, morel hunters carefully guard the secret of where they find their stash, since they tend to be found in the same place each year.

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Needless to say, our interest was piqued. Bud told me to change out of the flip flops and put on some real shoes. I grabbed a plastic bag and we set off to find some morels. We had gotten a good look at them, and since they are so distinctive, I wasn’t afraid of getting hold of something poisonous. I had looked them up previously on the internet and there is only one poisonous mushroom that looks similar, and it’s not even close to the real thing. Morels are also hollow inside.

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We first checked a spot where the guy had haphazardly pointed toward, saying that the previous owners had told him they’d found them there. We found two there. We were on a roll, and our appetite was whetted for more. It’s kind of addictive to hunt them, since they aren’t prevalent, and can’t be found just anywhere. I finally found about 6 more, all under the same tree. I had almost given up hope of finding any more, when an unusual, dark brown, cup shaped mushroom caught my eye. When I got closer to inspect it, I looked beyond them and I saw the morels.

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We brought them home, and I fixed them exactly as The Brother had said they fixed them. I scrambled an egg, mixed in a little milk ‘to thin it down some.’ Then, I dipped it in flour with a little salt, and fried them in butter. Mmmmmmm….I have to admit, they were every bit as good as he said they were. The only thing I might add in the future is a little Ranch Dressing to dip them in. πŸ™‚

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I found three more morels after our first hunt, and then we found two broken ones after that. Morels season starts as the first wild flowers start to carpet the ground, and the Redbud Trees and Dogwood start blooming. (I have to add here, that the Dogwoods and Redbuds were prolific all through this area and absolutely gorgeous! I wish I had gotten some better pictures.)

We observed that ‘Morels Season” seems to end once the trees start getting their leaves. Leastwise, we haven’t found any after the trees started leafing, and The Brother has stopped making his regular trips on the four wheeler…a sure sign we might as well not waste our time.

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Hope you all are enjoying this beautiful Spring! Thank you for your patience with my hiatus.

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14 thoughts on “Loose Morels

  1. Dear Kara, Thank you for the post and pictures. My aunt Mary has hunted for morels in NY and has had success. I haven’t looked for them here and have not randomly come across them, but I would be so excited if I did! I love mushrooms. In fact I’m eating a hamburger right now, with mushrooms on top.
    How are the hens?
    I think of you often, in your wonderful new home!! Hope you have a blessed Spring.

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    1. You should definitely look for them if they grow in your area! They are delicious. I think it’s very gratifying to forage for free food. πŸ™‚

      Then hens are doing great! …and I have added a few chicks to the flock, too. I’m hoping to update about them soon.

      We have gotten some things done here on our home. So much of what we have done has been tearing down so we can ‘build up’. I think we are finally at the point that some of the things we do here actually show an improvement that we can actually see. πŸ™‚ That’s the fun part.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We have them here in Michigan! I’ve never tasted them or seen them in person, but we knew several people who would hunt for and eat them.

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    1. Interesting. I don’t think they are found in every state…so that’s Michigan, New York, Arkansas and Missouri. You should go hunting for them sometime if you have them in the area.

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  3. This is very interesting. I have read that some mushrooms are really good for you, healthy. We don’t eat them unless they come in a dish and are pretty well hidden. I never add them when a recipe calls for them, either. What fun learning new things. And the flowers in your pictures are so pretty. Can’t think of their name, but I never did have much sucess growing them here.

    Glad you are back with your blog. I have missed hearing about your progress. Thanks

    Oh, I planted some yellow bush beans and a few are coming up. I just planted them Sun., I think, and something is digging holes in the garden boxes. Was going to get Tom to get some kind of fence wire to lay across the dirt until the seeds started germinating, but too late for that now. I have to find something to keep animals out of there. I think it is the neighbor’s two outdoor cats. They stayed out of the back yard when Gena’s dogs were here. I’m pretty sure when she gets back, they will run the cats out of our yard.

    I had two short rows -one of spinach and one of lettuce-that I think the cats ruined those. Oh, there are a couple of bell peppers coming on a plant that is in a black pot from last year. And have 3 tomato plants that look good all in containers. My two hills of cucumbers where I over planted some old seeds have all come up. There must be 8 to 9 seeds in each hill and I guess I will have to thin them, which I hate doing. Last two years I planted them in a pot and as it got much later and hotter as well as dryer, they did not make more than 3 or 4 cukes. I decided to plant them in the ground this year. We are getting more rain than usual and I guess that has helped get things growing. I am fighting ants in those boxes and really don’t know what else to do. Called the nursery where I usually get stuff and they recommended something called Come and Get It for use in edible gardens. So far I am still waiting for it to work. May have to go to a feed store and ask .

    Gotta go to bed. Glad you are back with your blog. Give Bud and Lana my love. You, too.

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    1. That’s exciting that your garden is doing so well. We just got our load of dirt, and I have been working hard to get the dirt spread out and get it planted. I know for a fact that we have a possum that digs in the leftovers of the kitchen scraps that the chickens leave, and the chickens, in themselves, will be a problem. Last year, I wanted to have our garden planted at the house to make it more attractive to potential buyers, and the chickens ate ever single bedding plant I put out there! So we are planning on surrounding this garden with chicken wire. There is no way around it, here.

      Thank you for your comment, and I love you, too!

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    1. There are two kinds of people in this world…those who love mushrooms and those who do not. As sure as the sun rises, you can count on this…those who love mushrooms will serve those who do not, and those who do not will serve those who DO. The last shall be first and the first shall be last. The greater shall eat beneath the toadstool, and the lesser becomes the fungus amongus. Life comes about full circle…and the fungi goes on, whether one partakes or not. That is the ‘morel’ of this story.

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  4. I am so happy to see you post again!
    I’ve been told they are here too, but we looked and looked and never found morels this year…
    LOVE all your pictures and the update on your home, it is turning into something beautiful! Ours hasn’t even started yet….
    But we are doing good!
    I don’t even have time to blog now, but I checked to see if you we blogging again, AND YOU WERE!
    Great posts! Kim

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    1. Thank you, Kim. I was just thinking about you today, and hoping all was going well for you.

      When we first moved to our place, we were just barely even staying afloat, and just trying to get it liveable. There is always so much to do when you first move to a place. Take heart, and just do a little at a time as you can. Busy is GOOD! …and I’m sp glad to hear you are going good for you. Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Yay!! I was checking in and saw that you’ve posted twice already, Kara! I haven’t been online much lately, but I’m sure happy to see you back! As for mushrooms, well, sadly, my dear husband doesn’t want to be anywhere near them. They aren’t one of his favorite things to eat … I’d say it’s right up there with okra!! lol Needless to say, we’ve never had morels, but I do like the ‘white’ mushrooms on my salads. Clueless as to the names of them, but I think you probably know which ones I mean. We’ve met a few ‘crusty’ old guys when we’ve driven south through the smaller towns. The little corner stores seem to be the main gathering places for them … we’ve always enjoyed talking with them, too.

    And, it sure does look pretty there where you are. Love your photos! It’s finally getting greener here, and we’ve cut the lawn twice already. Dandelions are in abundance, and our flowers are finally blooming in the back yard. Your photo of the branch with the pink blossoms .. not sure of the name of that either, but we have one in our yard. They’re very pretty in the spring … just wish they’d last longer!

    So good to ‘read’ you again, my friend! I’ll be back to catch your latest post after I get some sleep. I helped hubby put some large wall tile in a bathroom on one of his jobs … besides realizing again how much I appreciate his hard work for us, I came to the realization that I am not as young as I used to be! Hmmm, come to think of it, none of us are! lol!

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    1. Hi Debi! Nice to see you again. Those are Redbud trees, and I love them too. Funny thing about those crusty, old guys…I think they make the world a much better place, but I fear they are a dying breed. It makes me kind of sad, but I’m glad to have seen a lot of them in these parts. Have you ever eaten Dandelion leaves? I hear they make a good salad. There was a video around by an older lady named, “Clara” who lived through the Great Depression and in the video talked about how her family ate them to supplement their meals. The video showed how they picked them, cleaned them, and prepared them. I’m impressed that you helped tile! I’m always in amazement at the skills these guys can do like they’ve been doing it forever.

      I’m so glad you stopped by! I hope you are having a good week!

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      1. A good, and a busy week, Kara, and the weekend looks the same! We have a wedding to attend Saturday evening, then Sunday at my sister’s for a family cookout after church, and Monday is our annual Memorial Day picnic with about 50 families from all over … we look forward to it twice a year, spring and fall. Gives us a chance to get far from the city and down on the farm to breathe that fresh country air! Always an enjoyable time … you both would love it! πŸ™‚

        I know what you mean about the crusty old guys being a dying breed, and how they’ve made the world a better place. It is sad to me, too … we’re really not supposed to do it, but I admit, from time to time, I do long for the ‘good ol’ days’, but I know this, that what waits ahead of us is far, far better!!

        As for the Dandelion leaves … I’ve never had them, but my hubby has. He practically lived on them when he lived in Washington State, but I do drink Dandelion tea! Any way you eat them, they’re good for you. And yes, I know who ‘Clara’ is! l adore her videos, at least the ones I’ve seen … the first one I saw was when she made pasta and peas! Made myself some right after I saw that, too! πŸ™‚ I’ve not come across the one on the Dandelion leaves, though. I do enjoy watching and listening to her. They’re all on YouTube under ‘Great Depression Cooking’.

        I’ve yet to make it back to read your latest post, and by now you may have posted more, but I’ll definitely get there … hopefully later today when I have a little time before the wedding. I’m hoping to get some nice photos for her and I need to get things ready. I’ve known her since our freshman year in high school, and that was a very long time ago! We drifted apart over the years, but always seemed to reconnect from time to time. Now she’s living close again, met a sweet guy, and I’m excited that they’re ‘tying the knot’! I hope you have a blessed weekend, Kara, and thank you for replying to my comment, too! πŸ™‚

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        1. Hi Debi! I love Clara, too! I will have to hunt down the ‘Spaghetti and Peas’ recipe. I’ve not seen it. The ‘Dandelion Salad’ video is the first one I ever saw, and I fell in love with her with the first video. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51VhG8MKxJY I have heard that Dandelion tea is good for the liver, among other things. I tried it once, looking for a replacement for coffee, but it didn’t satisfy, so I gave up.

          It sounds like you have a full and fun weekend planned. I pray you have safe travels, and good fellowship this weekend.

          Thank you for your reply! Kara

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