Morels (Morchella spp.)

              {Click on an image to enlarge, then use the back button to return to this page}
(Fig. 01)
Picture Information: I found several of these Black Morel mushrooms on 05/26/2016 while hiking the North Loop Trail in the Spring Mountain Range. They were just off the side of the trail at about the 8,900 foot elevation. Click here to go to this hike page ... North Loop Trail - Trip Notes for 05/27/2016.
Description: Morels (Morchella spp.) a.k.a. White Morel, Yellow Morel, Black Morel. Morels are a very distinct genus of mushrooms. Looking somewhat like a pine cone on a stalk, morels have a spongy, porous, honeycombed appearance. The stems and caps are hollow. The black morel has black ridges with tan pores. The black morel tends to become darker with age. When the cap has turned predominately to all black, it is unpalatable. The cap is ¾" - 1 5/8" wide and ¾" - 2" high; elongate and narrowly conical; with dark gray to black longitudinal and radial ribs (sometimes irregular), and long, yellow-brown pits; attached to stalk at base; hollow. The stem is 2" - 4" long, ¾" - 1 5/8" thick; whitish, granular to mealy; hollow. Their growing season is late April - mid June. Black morels are likely to appear the earliest and are likely to be found under conifers, in the woods, or along woods edges.

These organisms are arguably considered among the most prized edible fungi on the planet, and it’s not uncommon to see them fetching a price of a few hundred dollars per dried pound in the market. Even though edible, these must be cooked thoroughly. Never, ever eat morels raw! They are good sautéed, deep fried, or dried and reconstituted. One of the best ways to eat them is by themselves to appreciate the subtle morel flavor. Morels with brook trout is a favorite. Foods that are not overpowering are best with this one such as chicken, fish, cheese, white sauces etc. They make fine soup.
False morels are found at the same time of year. They are poison and sometimes deadly. You must be sure to know the differences. True morels are completely hollow from top to bottom usually with a conical or oval attached cap. Note the pebbly texture of the stem both inside and out. the False morel (Gyromitra esculenta) is chambered on the inside with an irregular brain-like cap.