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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Morel Mushrooms

If any of you grew up in the north central areas of the US, you're likely to know about the infamous mushroom called the Morel. Usually found in wooded areas and typically plentiful, Morel mushrooms are unique in their flavor and texture. I personally haven't had one since I left the area 30 plus years ago. I've been begging my cousins to bundle up a bunch and send them to me... to no avail. They're free if you hunt for them, and cheap if you buy them up there. But down here in Florida, it's quite a different story.

My friend Ann and I went to Whole Foods yesterday... searching for organic greens that I was not able to find in the Winter Park Farmers Market... (booo hisss) We both were standing side by side as our eyes met Morel mushrooms at the same time. Pure GASPS came out of both of our mouths while our baskets got dropped from our arms so we could reach for the precious delicacy.  We were squealing with delight until our eyes dropped to the price tag. $49.99 per pound.

After we were able to pick our jaws up off the ground and gather our wits after flying into sticker shock, we began to get creative.  Bottom line... we just wanted to savor the flavor of these little jewels, so we picked out a handful, weighed them and convinced ourselves that we didn't need a pound... just a mouthful to put ourselves back into our childhood.

$3.50 later we took our find home, cranked up the stove, plopped in the butter and washed them with tender loving care as if they were going to make us young again. At one point, they slipped from the bag of water and both of us rushed in screaming to make sure no mushroom escaped down the drain. I do believe we would have removed the drain below if any had slipped through.

All washing complete... a bit of slicing to help make them seem like we had more than we did and into the hot butter they went. I stood over the stove, smelling the butter, watching the little gems sizzle to a light brown.

Oh so delicately I took them from the butter to a paper towel, making sure they all stayed in tact. A prayer of thanks went up, we turned to look at one another, then lifted our forks with a sliver of mushroom on the tips, putting them into our mouths anxiously awaiting that flavor that we remember oh so long ago.... and you won't believe what happened next...

To be concluded tomorrow! :-)

15 comments:

  1. What? What? What? I was researching how to find some in Orlando and ran across your story. I want some so badly....so, are they still at Whole Foods....and WHAT Whole Foods? I didn't even know Orlando HAD a Whole Foods!!!!

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    1. Sand Lake Road, just West of I-4. Go there regularly and always spend tooooo much $$$. And I live in Saint Cloud!

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  2. Good Morning! You may be just as disappointed in the Morels as I was... so fair warning! Like my story said, I think we bought just a handful because they were VERY expensive and I was so glad we did since we didn't have a good experience. To find a Whole Foods locally, just go to http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/ and click on store locations. I believe there are two in Orlando. Happy Hunting!

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    1. There are great groups on facebook where you can get morels directly from people who can pick them wild. Very little mark up.

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    2. There are great groups on facebook where you can get morels directly from people who can pick them wild. Very little mark up. I have several varieties growing on my property in Pennsylvania and I'm likely to start doing this myself.

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  3. I was going to look this morning, I just moved here from mi, we had morels galore:) I now reside in spring hill fl. and I hears they grow here? does anyone know if this is true?

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  4. Hi Karrie,
    I don't believe you're going to find the pot of gold here in Florida filled with Morels. If you'll google you'll find all kinds of information on how to grow them, but as for the wild 'sroom, northern states are the best bet. From what I've heard, the garden variety just don't cut the mustard down here. Good luck!!

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  5. I don't know if they are Motels...probably not but there is a mushroom that grows in my garden after a lot of rain. The top looks like a motel but the stem is about 4 or 5 inches long and opaque white.........they smell like poo poo. Does anyone know what alien plant I grow.

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  6. Anonymous,
    Probably a 'false morel'. True morels don't have a skirt and the fruit is completely attached to the stem............

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  7. I just found your story as I was researching for my own blog post recalling my teenage years searching for morels. I can well imagine your reaction when you found them in Whole Foods.

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  8. I grew up in southern Illinois an every spring we would go out morel hunting, some years were better than others but we always were ale to ill our baskets with these culinary delights, they do not grow here in florida

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  9. I have a place where you can find a lot of morels the season is about over now but if you would be interested in going next year about 3rd week in June let me know and we will make a party out of it i have found as much as 180lbs in a day

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  10. CAN YOU GROW THEM IN YOUR GARDEN IN FLORIDA ?

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  11. I just seen y'all have chanterelle mushrooms in Florida. Those are the closest thing to morels I've found very good.

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  12. I tried to respond but it didn't work. I live in Indiana I always have an abundance of morels. We get anywhere from 35 to 90 a pound for them. We have a festival up here. It the Mansfield mushroom festival. Check it out. If y'all want I would ship and sell them to y'all for 25 a pound. I can vacuum seal them. I just can't imagine a world without morels. It doesn't matter to me if y'all don't want them I'll make more than this at the festival. But like I said I can't imagine not having them. Look me up on Facebook Brock Cox Dugger INDIANA. When payment is received I'll send them out. Or I'm going to Florida in June. I've never tried to keep them that long but if they r vacuum sealed I would think they would be ok. Let me know. God bless

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