Life has been a little slow this year for local mushroom hunters.
It's been unusually cold with few warm spells, and until recently wet and getting wetter. But a few people found some blacks several weeks ago, and just last week a woman reported finding a goodly cluster of fine grays. With the recent warm weather, the big yellows should be peeping through forest litter as you read this or will be shortly, and those are the ones we hurry out to seek each year. Large, dark gold, succulent fungi that taste better than anything I've yet found in a supermarket.
There have been plenty of articles written about how to find morels, and I've written a few myself. The basic fact is that you walk until you find some, wherever they may be. You'll find them here this year, there next year, sometimes within five minutes, sometimes after half a day. It's a matter of paying your dues. But what do you do after than onion sack is filled with tasty morels? Lots of things.
First, do use a loose mesh onion sack, because the experts say your travels around woods and fencerows will cause bagged morels to drop some spores and hopefully start a few for next year. When you get the fungi home, the first step is to slice them lengthwise and soak the lot in light salt water for half an hour or so to dislodge any tiny insects that have made a home inside. Then rinse them well, set some aside for immediate use, and freeze the others. One top way to freeze mushrooms is to fill a half gallon milk carton with them, add water and freeze. "There's no freezer burn this way." I was told by one old timer. "I've kept them for two years in cartons and had them taste fresh when I thawed them out."