Do Morels Smell?

A healthy morel in the wild will usually give off a distinctive, but very faint, smell. This is due to the pheromones that it releases in order to aid the spread of its spores. In general, the smell is so faint that it can hardly be classified as either good or bad.

When it comes to mushrooms, there are plenty of delicious specimens to choose from. But it should be noted that some are rarer than others. Morels are one of the tastiest, yet most elusive, mushrooms on the planet. People have been searching for them for years. The success rate has been slim, barely enough to create more demand.

As a result, one of the biggest questions that people have is how to locate these delectable morsels. One of the best ways to do so is by smell. Of course, it now needs to be pointed out that morels arise from spores and do most of their growing under the ground. This presents a serious barrier to our ability to detect their presence.

In an effort to circumvent this problem, we have enlisted the aid of the animal world. People use specially trained morel-sniffing dogs and pigs. These are the beings with the preternatural sense of smell that can detect the faint odor that a morel really does give off. But even with them, the effort made is not always foolproof.

Can You Find Morels By Their Smell?

Mushrooms tend to give pheromones that aid in the dispersal of their spores. This is the chief method of spreading through the environment until they have found a suitable place to begin their growth process. Pheromones, by their very nature, do have a very characteristic smell. The smell of morels may be much fainter than other species.

It should thus be taken as a matter of course that morels do produce a specific smell. You should also note that morels also undergo the production of spores on their mycelium. In this, they follow the basic growth model of other entities, such as mold. This gives an additional characteristic odor to their mycelium that can be traced.

Human beings aren’t particularly gifted when it comes to our sense of smell. Morels don’t help the situation by choosing to grow primarily under the earth. This means that, when it comes to searching out these elusive members of the fungi species, animals such as pigs and dogs are going to have a much easier time of it.

Can You Identify False Morels By Their Smell?

There is one very important thing that you will need to keep in mind at all times. You already know that not all mushrooms are edible. In fact, some are extremely poisonous. Unfortunately, this includes several look-alike species that are frequently mistaken for the genuine morel. These particular species are very dangerous indeed.

Some of these dangerous false morels include Gyromitra brunnea and G. caroliniana. Both of these species are reddish in color. They also both tend to have caps that are wrinkled and capped with a dome in the shape of a brain. Their stalks are usually very dense rather than hollow. Once you know the difference, definitely avoid them.

You should also stay away from from another species of morel, Morchella punctipes. This one is also known as the half-free morel. It has a very distinctive cap whose bottom half tends to hang down freely from its stalk, thus giving this species its well known nickname. Like the other false morels, it is very poisonous.

All of these false morels have a faint smell that, when detected, is still very distinctive. However, only an expert or an animal specially trained in detecting this odor can really make a definitive identification. For this reason, you are best advised to go by the visual descriptions that we have provided for these species.

Can Pigs Or Dogs Find Morels By Their Smell?

Specially trained dogs and pigs have been trained for many years to locate a wide variety of mushrooms and other fungi. The most famous of these aperitif sniffing animals have been the pigs are who trained to find truffles. However, it should also be noted that pigs and dogs can also be educated to hunt out the elusive morel.

Morels do have an odor that, while very faint, is still very distinctive. The trouble is that this odor is, all too often, faint to the point that a human nose can hardly detect it. This is why dogs and pigs have been employed for this delicate but very tasty task. Their sense of smell is several thousand times more powerful than our own.

With that being said, it should also be noted that even an expert sniffer like a trained pig or dog won’t always come up with the goods. Morels really are that hard to find. Many hunting parties have ended with animals finding all kinds of tasty treats but coming up short on morels. Even the nose of an expert will not always prevail.

Do Morels Smell Bad?

A healthy morel in the wild will usually give off a distinctive, but very faint, smell. This is due to the pheromones that it releases in order to aid the spread of its spores. In general, the smell is so faint that it can hardly be classified as either good or bad.

However, if you have purchased morels from a store, you will have a clear indication when they go bad. They will generally start to smell offensively pungent. They will also be covered with reddish or blackish spots of rot. If the morel in your fridge is in this condition, it’s best to toss it out.

How Do You Know If Morels Have Gone Bad?

Morels that have gone bad will tend to be covered in reddish or blackish spots. These spots indicate rot. Morels in this state will also tend to have a distinctively pungent and very unpleasant odor.

If you come across morels that are exhibiting any of these signs, don’t bother with them. You don’t want to risk being food poisoned. Remember that a healthy morel has no reddish or blackish spots. Its odor will be very faint and hardly detectable.