The best time to pluck morels is between April and May. Morels grow best and mature during the spring months, this is when you will find morels in abundance.
To understand whether a morel mushroom is ready to be picked, you need to look at its stem and the maturity of its cap.
When Do Morels Grow?
Morels start to grow in the first months of spring with the end of winter. Morels take up residence in non-arid regions where there is not much heat.
Moisture is an important factor for morels. Morels are found in areas with high humidity and tend to be seen frequently in the seasons with heavy rainfall and mild weather.
What Time of The Day Do Morels Come Up?
Morels come up when the daytime temperature is 50 degrees and above, and at night when it is around 40 degrees.
It will be in your best interest to obtain a soil thermometer from somewhere and measure the temperature values of the soil where the morels grow. Morels generally tend to grow between 40-50 degrees.
This makes hunting for morels and seeking out potential morel growth spots much easier.
Is Picking Morels Sustainable?
Mushroom picking is absolutely sustainable. We can compare this job to picking an apple from the branch of a tree.
When you pick an apple from the branch of a tree, the tree’s cycle continues to reproduce. Morels work the same, they grow from an underground network of mycelium, and the mushrooms are the fruit of that network, just as Apple is the fruit of a tree.
The only difference is that since the mycelium is under the ground, and we cannot see them.
Mycelium, like trees, constantly reproduce by spreading the spores via mushrooms. Therefore the cycle of mushroom growth continues, so long as the mushrooms are not picked before they have the opportunity to release their spores.
While picking morels, one should never pull them by the head or by pulling the left or right. If possible, cut them at the base to avoid damaging the mycelium network attacked to its roots.
With this method, the mycelium will remain under the ground and continue to reproduce and more morels will appear during the season. Just be sure to only pick the amount f morels you need. Leave some for others and to allow the mature mushrooms to release spores.
How Should You Pick Morels?
Morels reproduce and are fed via their roots called mycelium, which remains under the ground. If you pluck morels incorrectly, you can cause these roots to die.
Since the dead roots will not be able to transfer themselves to the next generation, you will cause that fungus to disappear completely and lessen the likelihood of yearly morel growth in that area.
Therefore you should not hold the morel vertically and pulling it upwards from the base, you should hold it by the body and cut it with a sharp knife from the part closest to the base.
The sharpness of the blade is also important, as a blunt knife can damage the root. Never force the morel out of the ground, otherwise, you will destroy the mycelium generation in that area.
What Makes Morels Grow?
Morels are fed from organic materials that are delivered from the soil via their mycelium network. Dead trees and plants, dead insects, rotten fruit, etc.
Morels, like other mushroom species, rely on the nutrients from dead plants and material to thrive, but they also enjoy soil that is high in carbon.
Morels grow in abundance after forest fires that have burned the carcasses of trees and animals which have been mixed with the soil.
If you are growing morels at home, burning a mound of compost on the spot where you wish to plant them is an excellent preparation method for optimal morel growth.
Where Do Morels Grow?
Morels are classified into two groups as natural and fire morels. Natural morels grow in pastures, forests, valleys, and mountainous areas. Fire morels grow in similar areas but only after a forest or compost fire.
It is possible to see both kinds of morels individually or in large groups. You may have a very productive harvest in one season, but you may not find any morels in the same place in the next season.
Morels appear quickly and disappear just as quickly. Fire morels appear after the forest fires and are among the first natural lifeform to reappear in that area.
Other factors such as temperature, humidity, and precipitation affect the growth of fungi in general. Natural morels grow at the edges of forests where there is some sunlight and plenty of dead leaves and branches.
Do Morels Grow in The Same Place Every Year?
Morels can grow in the same location for several seasons if the weather conditions remain stable and favorable to morel growth. Morels do move onto the spots, this is largely due to drought and extreme heat that may be affecting their growth.
When there is a drought or flooding, morels cannot grow and their mycelium networks die. At the same time, overharvesting or harvesting using destructive methods can make it more difficult for morels to spawn in the same place next year.
What to Do With Morels After You Pick Them?
Morels should be consumed within an average of 4 days after they are collected. You can store your morels in the refrigerator by placing them in a brown bag or wrapping them in a damp paper towel.
If you do not consume the morels you keep in the refrigerator within 5-7 days, they will spoil. You can also store more mushrooms longer by drying them.
Are Morels Tasty?
Morels are among the tastiest mushrooms. Morels and truffles are considered the most delicious, and in many places are considered a delicacy as they require a little work and knowledge to find.
Morels are an elusive mushroom, that ‘move’ year on year and do not grow easily. Chefs and restauranteurs are constantly on the lookout for morels to add to recipes. This has made morel growing and hunting a very lucrative business.