- Never eat any false morels including so called "reds". I know there is much debate about this, but like I said these are my guidelines and so far they have done me no wrong. For more information about the eating false morel debate see this previous post The Debate over Reds - To Eat or Not to Eat.
- Never eat morels raw. Anything raw can and usually does have bacteria on it. Cooking it, even a fast sauté will destroy the bacteria and save your stomach.
- Never eat any spoiled or bad smelling morels. This is more important late in the season. Usually if a morel looks or smells bad I just let it be. When I get home I always look mine over thoroughly and cut off any darkened pieces or parts with that rust colored rot starting to set in.
- Always be sure that you know where they grow. This is by far the most important one because this is how you can actually poison yourself by eating morels. IF IN THE WOODS, YOU ARE GOOD. Never eat morels from lawns, orchards, etc. unless you have verified that the area has not been treated with pesticides or herbicides for a very long time. Any poisons in the soil WILL be absorbed by the mushrooms and if you eat them, by your stomach. For all you Show-Me folks who may have doubts, check out this article on arsenic poisoning by morels.
Even in the woods sometimes you may have questions. For example, would you eat the morels in this picture (to the left) growing less than a foot from someone's old fruit of the looms? These were out in the woods but they still gave me pause.
- Never eat too many morels. I know, some of you may argue that there is no such thing as too many morels. But like most things in life, morels and mushrooms are best in moderation.
- Finally, there is the alcohol warning. Some say don't eat morels and drink at all. Others say you can have a beer or two just don't over do it. I have done the later and had a drink or two when consuming morels but never too much. Others swear it just took them a sip, so if you drink, you are going to have to see where your tolerance lies. For those who want to be safe, just stick to soda or some less potent potable.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The Do's and Don't of Eating Morels - or how not to get sick
Every year, I hear or read of at least a few reports of people getting sick after eating morels. Some of these are from people who have never tried them and have an allergic reaction to them -- which is a good reminder to always only eat a little bit the first time you try morels or any wild mushroom to ensure no unpleasant reaction before eating more. Due to this fact, before the season begins, I always find it necessary to mention some tips to avoid getting sick or even worse from the morels ones picks and ingests. I can honestly say that I have never gotten sick from eating morels but I suspect these simple rules have served me well.
Well there you have it. Just some general guidelines to follow. After all the time you spend driving and hunting down your patches the last thing you want to see is your half-eaten morels and all that hard work getting literally flushed down the toilet.