In the Midwest, morel mushrooms can be found in late April to mid-May. Morels are known as an early spring mushroom.
May 12, 1990 in Oregon, Illinois, a man found a giant Morel weight two pounds, measuring eleven and one-half inches and had a circumference of seven and one-half inches.
They say that a heavy snow fall will produce a great season. Most likely due to all the moisture the snow brings. Morels like a cold-snap after it has been warm for a few days. You need a few 70 degree days with a low in the 50’s at night; followed by a cold-snap and then warm weather again.
The morel mushrooms tend to grow around old apple orchards and dead elm trees and logs. Old stumps and fallen trees are a popular growing spot along with living white ash and maple trees.
When you see redbud trees beginning to bloom, the oak leaves just opening, and May apple plants popping up in the woods, it is time to put on your hiking boots, get out the Deep Woods Off, put on long pants and long sleeved shirts to protect you from the poison ivy and prickly bushes.
Make sure you bring a compass or your GPS, a walking-stick to move the twigs, water and healthy snack, and a mesh or cloth bag for your treasured morels. Don’t use a plastic bag.
For the beginner, know your trees before you take your trek in the woods and always go with an experienced hunter. There are dangerous plants and fungi that can be lethal.
When you spot your morels, be gentle and clip or break them off so they will continue to grow for years.
Now go back to your campsite and prepare your treasure with plenty of butter.
Tidbit: This article is dedicated to my mother, Dorothy, Aunt Vi, and Aunt Jeanann who taught me how to hunt mushrooms from the age of three. And don’t smoke in the woods!