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Archive for Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Morel mushrooms plentiful after wet winter in northeast Kansas

The fungus is now among us

LJWorld.com staff photographer Richard Gwin talks about hunting morel mushrooms. This time of year the tasty morsels are thick in the area, he says, and many people are out looking.

April 26, 2011

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Staff photographer Richard Gwin was first introduced to morel mushrooms in the 1970s, and now he's become an avid mushroom hunter.

Staff photographer Richard Gwin was first introduced to morel mushrooms in the 1970s, and now he's become an avid mushroom hunter.

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It’s spring, and that can mean just one thing: morel mushrooms.

This year’s harvest will be bountiful because of the large amount of moisture last winter.

My first checks of my usual hunting spots started April 1. Not much luck.

Warm weather didn’t help.

But rain on April 11 was just what was needed. And the mushrooms popped up.

I first was introduced to morel mushrooms when I came to Lawrence in the 1970s. Former Lawrence residents Kathy Hoggard and Chuck Bemis were frying up mushrooms and I was invited to dinner. Wow, what a tasty treat. A few years passed, and an assignment on morel hunters for the Journal-World got me hooked.

From my experience, the best places to look are:

  • Along a river. Many times, morels can be found near fallen cottonwood trees.
  • At the base of an old elm, particularly if it has dead limbs.
  • The west and south sides of hillsides. Look about a third of the way down, particularly under buckbrush.
  • In orchards and even along fence rows at the edge of pastures.
  • And even in residential areas.

One year I did a story and met a man from Overbrook who had a small terrier that could sniff them out. That certainly was fun to watch. I’ve come up empty sometimes, but my girlfriend, Candy Davis, has a knack for finding them — often at three times the rate I can.

If you’re heading out to hunt, don’t forget to dress appropriately for a trip outdoors:

  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants and sturdy shoes.
  • Spray for ticks and bugs. They’re not bad now, but as it warms up, they will be.
  • A hat also is a smart idea. And don’t forget to slather on the sunblock.

Once you’ve brought your bounty home, clean your crop and put the mushrooms in a plastic container with a tight lid.

Take a shower — and enjoy your mushrooms.

Comments

tennesseerader 2 years, 11 months ago

Around apple trees is a good place to look.

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riverdrifter 2 years, 11 months ago

I went over the 250 mark total today. One single mess harvested in a day near Baldwin was 280!

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Darin Wade 2 years, 11 months ago

 Avoid some toxic  side effects with morels; steam precook then conventional cooking

Methods steam removes enzymic toxicity before full course of cooking morels, color of Morels should be white to dark light brown. Morels are a cousin to the ancestor of the reishi Mushroom and are compatible to eat together so enjoy..

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RuralWanderer 2 years, 11 months ago

Saw a picture of a guy from NC Kansas who took home 33 pounds of morels today! What's the market rate per pound for morels these days?

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riverdrifter 2 years, 11 months ago

I didn't hunt today but found 91 I think Friday and 86 yesterday. Didn't hunt today, will go tomorrow. The best hunting for me, so far, in years. Py, right on. I slather on the deet and when done toss the clothes in the washer and shower off the ticks. I'll run a timber rattler out of my mushroom patch, no problem, but I do not mess with Lyme or RMSF. I always mention the rattlers because one place I hunt for morels is an old quarried area that is rife with them. I usually see at least one every year there. Most morel hunters will seldom if ever encounter one.

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Multidisciplinary 2 years, 11 months ago

Sunscreen to hunt morels. Something about that is just...wimpy. ;)

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5thgeneration 2 years, 11 months ago

I don't know what kind of luck anyone else had.................. but I thought the crop was way down from previous years. I'd usually find 80-90 total, and this year I found less than 2 dozen.

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Pywacket 2 years, 11 months ago

Good article! You ain't kidding about dressing appropriately. My main reason to do so is that morels seem to like cohabiting with poison ivy, which is emerging at the same time. I try to wear boots that can be hosed off and generally plan on putting my mushroom-hunting clothes in the wash as soon as I get in.

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