Monday, May 02, 2011

Late Season Missouri Morels

Believe it or not but with all this cool weather there are still morels around to be had. You may also find a few rotten ones but if you keep looking eventually you can come across some real beauties.

Generally late season morels are those big beer can yellows like the one in my hand a few pictures below, but if you luck out you can find some nice fresh ones like the one to the left.

This one is actually a diferent type of morel than I usually find. I was lucky enough to be told about a patch of "small morels" by some friends who were out letterboxing when they stumbled across a nice motherlode (which proves that some of the best finds are just found by getting out in the woods). They said they were all small which was unusual compared to the big yellows they had found in other areas. That was my first clue that they could be the true late season morel, Morchella deliciosa When I located the spot, which was an adventure in itself due to the mischievous nature of the letterboxers, I soon realized that they were indeed m. deliciosa. In an old Missouri Conservationist story, they have a little more information.
Late Morel (Morchella deliciosa)
  • Appears after all other species are overmature or gone.
  • Their small size (1-3 inches) is disappointing compared to giants.
  • Pits are large and few compared to other species.
  • The least understood and most often overlooked species.
  • Excellent flavor, but often difficult to find enough for a meal.
They say you can find them well into May if you look hard enough and find the right spot. The ones I found were pictured here in the top row.

Notice how they have smaller and more pointed tops. Also if you take a closer look at the photo, you will notice how the pits are vertically arranged (the ridges run pretty much straight up and down the cap), more like black morels. I also found those grays and that big yellow today and placed them in the photo for shape, size, and pit comparison. They are the common morel or Morchella esculenta I had to go dark and deep to find those few. By dark and deep, I mean go way off trail into those deep dark ravines and draws in the hills, or in this case a large city park.

The thing about late season hunting is that if you are hunting the regular yellow morels they are easy to find. I saw this one from 100 feet through some pretty thick bush honeysuckle. It was a meal in itself.

The true late season morels are much, much harder to find. First they are tiny so seeing them is tough and then they are incredible hiders because of their small size. Take this video for example:

And a big thanks to I Dig Toasters and MOUR4ME for telling me about thee little guys, so I could find and document them on my blog and get a good taste of late morels. They are tiny but very tasty in my book.

What was best about these was that they were in another city park. Just a small section of woods that is in the middle of a neighborhood. Just goes to show, you never know what you will find in any old small patch of woods until you get out there and look. I am not saying you will always find something, but sometimes you may be pleasantly surprised.


MO UR4Me said...

Very interesting! Thanks for the info and I will keep my eyes open for this kind of morel while letterboxing in the future!

Camo said...

I hit one of my "late spots" Monday and was almost too late! About only 1 in 5 was a nice keeper but still had plenty for a couple meals. Sooo, stopped along the road on the way home for some fresh asparagus. Did the bacon, shroom, asparagus, Capt. thing. You know its good when you eat the bacon last!

Anonymous said...

I found a nice bigfoot in Indiana:

And some more that were too old around a dying elm. One of my in-laws is pretty short & has a good eye, and found a deliciosa as we were leaving there for the weekend .. from the car!

-- Feral Boy