See Where You Should Hunt Morels in Minnesota
Morel mushrooms are known around the world for their sponge-like appearance and tasty characteristics for cooking. It is one of the most sought after edible mushrooms that grows in the wild. In 1984, the morel mushroom was named the official mushroom of the state of Minnesota. Minnesotans and even neighboring states will travel all over the state in search of these mushrooms. Being able to tell future residents or just local movers that their backyard holds these delicacies is important to share.
While they are known worldwide, they primarily grow in the northern hemisphere entering the spring season. They can be found from Texas to Alaska in the US, and luckily for Minnesotans, the state’s ecosystem is the perfect environment for morels to thrive.
When Should You Hunt For Morels?
Morel mushrooms usually emerge annually around spring time, given adequate rainfall. Usually from late April into June, residents can find morels throughout the state. In northern Minnesota, the foraging season can be extended well into June depending on rainfall and temperatures.
Spring is the perfect season for morels to grow due to trees just beginning to bud, allowing ample amounts of sunlight to warm the earth directly, resulting in growth of wildflowers and other wild vegetation. Veteran “shroomers” say the first sign of morels ready to pick is when you begin to see blooming lilacs and dandelions.
Where Should You Hunt For Morels?
Throughout Minnesota there are opportunities to forage for morels, you just need to know where to look, and what you’re looking for. Morels can be found in a variety of landscapes, most commonly found around trees that are dying. As trees die, their root systems break down and become sought after food for morels, and fungi. Oftentimes when you find a good patch of morels, this growth will appear in the same area year after year. This is why veteran morel hunters keep their favorite spots on lockdown, often times more secretive and protective of their morel spot over their favorite fishing spot.
Morels can be found in fields, forests, orchards, hedgerows, islands, railroad tracks, and floodplains. Look for a south facing slope, with a decaying elm, ash, poplar, or apple tree.
When you locate a patch of morels, use a knife to slice the morel at the soil level. Pinch the stem and slice just above the soil to leave a base of the mushroom. Veterans keep their spots a secret since they usually produce in the same area each year. This is why when harvesting a morel it’s important to slice the stem at soil level, and leave a few morels for future seed.
If you really are a lover of morels, and want to create some friendships over fungi, check out the Minnesota Mycological Society to join a community of Minnesota mushroom hunters and lovers.