Morels Are Coming...

Morels in season

The joy of morels is a ritual of spring. It is the first of many gourmet edible mushrooms that pop out. 

In Alberta, morels come out in a variety of habitats, but whatever habitat they are in, they are difficult to spot, especially if you are just starting to learn about them. Mostly we find them in Aspen Parkland habitats, but they also grow among the conifer (but to find those you need to head west towards the mountains). In fact they grow most everywhere, if you are lucky you can find them in your yard, in pastures and often in large numbers in disturbed areas where trees have died or been cut down. Fires are also famous for morels but this is a phenomenon that is usually limited to the western part of our conifer forests.


Remember a few things about Morels and its allies:

The joy of morels is a ritual of spring.

Martin Osis
  • Morels grow in many different habitats but in Alberta they are strongly associated with poplars and aspens. But as you head for higher elevations toward the mountains they shift toward an association with conifers
  • Timing is critical. Soil temperatures need to be about 50 Degree F. Watch for the early blue violets and saskatoons coming into bloom for clues that the time is right.
  • Always cook your morels! There are some toxins that are neutralized by cooking and never overindulge the first time you are trying any mushroom. The single largest mushroom poisoning happened in Vancouver at a banquet for a retiring Police Chief. Raw morels were served in a pasta salad and of the 483 people attending 77 presented with poisoning symptoms.
  • True morels are hollow in the middle while Early Morels or verpas have a cap and stalk and False Morels are more convoluted have chambers in the stalk.
  • Early morels or Verpas, start a bit earlier than the true morel, but you often pick both at the same time. Early morels like a moister habitat so you usually find closer to sloughs and wet area.
  • Yellow Morels usually start a bit later toward the end of May or early June. Again they can be found in a variety of habitats but seem to like sandier soil with a few more conifers.
  • False Morels have been known to cause fatalities especially when undercooked or over consumed. Learn the difference between the False morel and the true Morel! They are not difficult to tell apart.
  • True Morels are part of the genus Morchella and in Alberta we have several different types. Some are easy to tell apart and others require DNA investigation.

The first morel foray of spring... coming soon

The first morel foray is probably the most anticipated event of the entire season. Our members come out in hordes, hoping to spot, and devour, the elusive morel. This year will not be any different. So, if you want the best chance to spot a morel, or even meet other members, be sure to come on out.

We will be sending out foray info to all AMS members via email. If you aren't a member, Join Today!  You won't regret it!

 

Always cook your morels!
There are some toxins that are neutralized by cooking and never overindulge the first time you are trying any mushroom.

 

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