"A good mushroom hunter can hear the mushrooms pop out of the ground," so claims my mom. My sisters and I were raised hearing stories of the days my mom, her cousins, my grandpa and great grandpa would wake at the crack of dawn and go mushroom hunting. This was a spring tradition that they shared together. Mushroom hunting wasn't taken lightly in this family, it was serious business! We love to hear the stories of those days and the folklore that the Hay family passed down through the generations. Hunting for morels has strict rules......
1. If you need a coat, it's too cold outside to find morels.
2. Don't take a bag to put them in, or you'll never find them.
3. Go with the intentions of picking redbud blossoms and violets, not for hunting morels.
4. Stop for a rest at decaying Ash trees, you might happen to find some morels there.
5. If you are lucky enough to find a family of morels, don't take them all, always leave the toughest and biggest one behind.
6. Never tell ANYONE where you found your morels! (This one is taken very seriously!)
My mom still hunts morels with her cousin and they don't take anyone else with them. To this day I have never even tasted a morel cooked by my mother, they are usually eaten up as fast as they are picked! I think my mom and her cousin are going to let us tag along with them this year, she has a weak spot for those granddaughters of hers and they want to join in the hunt.
To make the morels tasty she coats them in an egg and milk wash, covers them with cracker crumbs and fries them in butter. My great aunt believes they are better in corn meal, but oh no that's not what my mom believes! For more information on morels and recipes visit The Great Morel.
Should you go mushroom hunting take caution and remember this Croatian proverb- "All mushrooms are edible, but some only once."