How to Hunt for Morel Mushrooms in Illinois

Save

Finding the elusive wild morel mushroom requires the sharp eye of a hunter. These wild mushrooms are found throughout the Illinois woodlands. Wild mushroom aficionados, as well as regular people, savor the distinctive taste of morels. Morels are cooked and eaten fresh; they can be dried or frozen, but some flavor and texture are lost. Morel hunters may even guard secret mushroom patches in woods where they have been known to grow. Morel mushrooms cannot be cultivated. Morel spores prefer wild, relatively undisturbed places with specific conditions, such as soil temperature, air temperature and soil moisture.

Things You'll Need

  • Wild mushroom identification book, pocket-size
  • Clothing appropriate for local weather
  • Bags or boxes
  • Water, snacks, optional
  • Walking stick, optional
  • Cell phone/camera, optional
  • Dress appropriately for hiking in the woods. Morels are found off the beaten path, and to find them you must search undisturbed woods and wooded edges of fields and river bottoms. Wear sturdy shoes or boots, a hat, long jeans and a sweater, if appropriate.

  • Review your mushroom book, and learn exactly what the different kinds of morels look like. Know your mushrooms. Take your book with you into the woods.

  • Choose an undisturbed wooded location to search, and take your bags or boxes, cell phone/camera, and walking stick. Hike the edges of the woods first, looking among the leaf litter for the heads of morel mushrooms above the leaves. Walk slowly, and watch where you step to avoid treading on mushrooms. When you find one morel, look carefully in the immediate vicinity for more. Where the growing conditions are right, several morels may be in the same area.

  • Use a walking stick to carefully move plant leaves, such as May apples or other undergrowth, so you can see the forest floor. This saves having to bend over to search likely spots where morels may be growing.

  • Pick morels, stem and all, in one piece. The ridged cap and the stem are both edible, and both have the same flavor. Brush away pieces of leaves or soil particles, and place the mushrooms in the bag or box. Keep the bag or box closed as you hunt to keep the morels from drying out.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always get permission from landowners before you hunt mushrooms on their property. If you do not, you are trespassing. Check at a ranger station if you are hunting on public lands; some areas may be under protection.
  • Take pictures of your hike in the spring woods. It will be an enjoyable day even if you don't find any morels.
  • Know your mushrooms. If in doubt, don't eat. People die each year from eating poisonous mushrooms.
  • Morels can be toxic if they are eaten accompanied by alcoholic beverages.
  • Avoid morel mushrooms that are not firm and fresh looking. If the mushroom seems soggy or soft, or if it has dried out, it is not suitable for eating.

References

  • Photo Credit Morille image by Nico_2 from Fotolia.com
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

Resources

You May Also Like

  • Central Illinois Mushroom Hunting

    The morel mushroom is a prized delicacy that grows in the wild in the Central United States. Sadly, while mushroom hunting still...

  • How to Identify Morel Mushrooms

    Morel mushrooms are a spring pleasure if you live close to woodlands. Morel hunters watch for the first indications of morel season,...

  • How to Find Morel Mushrooms

    Morels win the popularity contest in North America. Join the mushroom hunters in springtime searching field and forest for this delicious, meaty...

  • How to Hunt for Morel Mushrooms After a Rain

    In Appalachia, the elusive morel mushroom often receives the nickname “dry-land fish” due to both its fishy taste and appearance during the...

  • What is the Soil That Morel Mushrooms Grow In?

    Morel mushrooms are among the most highly prized springtime mushrooms. They are dark brown to black with a honeycomb cap that makes...

  • Edible Wild Mushrooms in Illinois

    In springtime, many Illinoisans flock to the woods to find edible mushrooms. The Annual Illinois State Morel Mushroom Hunting Championship and Spongy...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Build and Grow a Salad Garden On Your Balcony

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!