Morels are some of nature’s most delicious treats, but it can be very difficult to find fresh ones growing in the wild. Between the specific climate requirements required for them to grow and the short time window they grow in, getting your hands on some of these earthy, delicious mushrooms can prove challenging.
So when can you find morels in Michigan? Well, May is the most fruitful month for finding morels in Michigan, but you will be able to find them anywhere between April and June. This is called the fungi’s “fruiting” period.
But there’s much more to know about finding morels in Michigan! Many factors are at play including where to look, how to look, and a ton of tips and tricks to getting some of these tasty little mushrooms from the forest to your dinner table. Read on to find out everything you need to know about finding morels in Michigan!
When can you find morels in Michigan?
As stated above, the best time to hunt for morels in Michigan is in May. However, morels do grow between late April and mid-June throughout the state. This time of year provides the perfect not too warm, but not too cold climate for morels to thrive in.
Start keeping your eye out for morels when April rolls around, but it will be hard to find morels in large quantities until May has begun.
Where to look for morels
Morels can be found not only in northern Michigan but southern Michigan as well. As far as specifically hunting morels near you, the best spots are usually near the edges of wooded areas, where the woods aren’t too dense. Oak, elm, and ash trees are great, especially ones that are dead and dying. These make fantastic habitats for these tasty fungi to call home.
How to hunt for morels
Start by hunting around any dying trees, especially if they are oak, elm, or ash trees. As said above, look at the edges of forested areas. After this, you can move onto any logs you can see in the area, as morels love to grow on these as well. Any recently burned areas of forest are a phenomenal place to look according to the Michigan department of natural resources.
Click this link to see a map of great morel hunting spots on public land in Michigan, including recent forest burn sites!
Can you grow morels?
You can’t grow morels in any kind of garden, as they are not vegetables or fruit. They are fungi. This means although you can’t grow them outright, you can possibly set up the right conditions for them to grow in your yard.
Morels, like many fungi, like to feed off dead or decaying organisms. Many folks have success surrounding a tree stump’s soil with wood chips, wood ash, or peat moss. This could create the optimal conditions for some morels to grow right on your property!
Are morels healthy?
As long as they’re prepared properly, morels are a very healthy food! They contain plenty of vitamins and minerals such as potassium and copper that contribute to cardiac health. Furthermore, they have plenty of antioxidants as well!
Be careful, though. There are a few ways that eating morels can go wrong. Namely, if you don’t clean or prepare them properly, or if you pick false morels. We will go into more detail on both of these topics later on in the article.
Best places to look for morels
Morels don’t just grow in northern Michigan, they actually grow all over the state. The best region of the United States to find morels is from Tennesee and northward towards Michigan. Forested areas, shady areas, and recently burned areas are the best spots to look in, as stated above.
Can morels be eaten raw?
No, morels should not be eaten raw. Without being cooked, they can cause gastric upset and stomach pain, as they aren’t able to be digested properly by your body. For this reason, morels are considered “generally safe to eat.” However, there are some common allergies to morels as well, so consume them carefully the first time.
How to prepare morels
First, it’s important to rinse the morels thoroughly in order to clean them off. This will make sure that any dirt, soil, and other filth from the outdoors isn’t going into your body. The most popular way to clean morels is to rinse thoroughly, followed by a short soak.
Afterwards, there are many ways to cook morels! They can be baked, pan-seared, or boiled! There are plenty of delicious ways to cook up morels, so look up your favorite recipe online and have at it! Just make sure they are cooked well to avoid gastric distress.
Do morels grow in the same place every year?
Morels will grow at the same site for a couple of years, and then stop growing in that specific spot. This is helpful as you can revisit spots you foraged morels at for a few years after the first time you find them. However, if the conditions of that place change, then the morels may not grow back.
Morels aren’t the most consistent thing you can find in the woods, so it’s entirely possible they don’t grow on the same dead tree or log the next time you come around. However, as said above, they do tend to regrow on the same spots.
What are false morels?
False morels are mushrooms that look like morels but are actually harmful to humans and should not be eaten. Some of these mushrooms can be very, very poisonous, so be very careful to inspect your morels before you pick or eat them!
Identifying false morels
False morels can be identified in a number of ways. Most of their caps are brown or reddish-brown in color, and their stems are white or tan. Unlike true morels, false morels are not hollow inside. Often, their caps are not connected to their stems in the same way that it would be on true morels.