The online mushroom groups I’m in are already filling up with photos of happy people & their hauls of a popular Michigan springtime delicacy – morel mushrooms! The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers a Morel Mushroom Hunting page that features information about morels & morel identification, hunting tips, recipes, and also a map of the large burn sites in forested areas are ideal for morel mushroom hunting, especially in burned areas where jack, white or red pine once grew. Grassy and other non forest areas are not as likely to produce morels:
May is morel month in Michigan, but the actual fruiting period is from late April until mid-June, depending on where you are and what species you are hunting. Contrary to common belief, morels are not confined to the northern part of the state – some of the best picking is in southern Michigan.
MOREL HUNTING TIPS
- Make your first several mushroom hunts, whether for morels or other edible mushroom species, with someone who knows mushrooms.
- Buy or download a mushroom guide. A good guidebook is “The Mushroom Hunter’s Field Guide” by Alexander H. Smith, recognized as America’s foremost authority on mushroom identification, and Nancy Smith Weber. There also is a very good mushroom identification booklet available on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website.
- Be prepared to cover a lot of ground and to experience disappointments when searching for morels. Some spots yield mushrooms year after year, while others skip several seasons between crops.
- Don’t expect to find morels easily if you are new to the pastime. Because they blend into their background of last fall’s leaves and dead grass, they are hard to see even if you are looking right at them. Your “eye” for morels will sharpen with practice, and you will need to retrain it every spring.
- Most important of all – know what you are eating! You will need to know the difference between a “true” morel and the “false morels,” such as beefsteak mushrooms, which are poisonous. (See morel identification information.)
- For more information on morel mushroom hunting in Michigan, visit Pure Michigan or Midwest American Mycological Information.
J Sommer took this photo back in May of 2017 near Saginaw. See this photo and more in their Fungi gallery on Flickr.
There is a bunch more information about morels at the morel tag on Michigan in Pictures.