Morel Time: 2018 Edition

Twin Morels worth a zoom, photo by Mark Smith

Mark took this photo back in May of 2015, but I’m hearing from friends in Leelanau that morels are starting to pop. We’ve had some great rain over the last few days all around Michigan and the temps are about right for morel magic!

View Mark’s photo background bigilicious and see more in Mark’s slideshow.

There’s more morels action in the Michigan in Pictures Morel tag and some great tips in this Morel Madness feature on my Leelanau.com website.

More spring wallpaper for your computer too!

First Day of Fall Puffballs

first-day-of-fall-puffballs

Happy First Day of Autumn, photo by Julie

The spring, summer, is quite a hectic time for people in their lives, but then it comes to autumn, and to winter, and you can’t but help think back to the year that was, and then hopefully looking forward to the year that is approaching.
-Enya

Happy second day of fall everyone. I’m usually pretty good about marking that seasonal stuff, but in my defense, I DID eat some puffballs the day before yesterday and marked a few today.

In case you’re interested in exploring edible, wild mushrooms, the giant puffball is considered one of the “Foolproof Four” – widespread and easy to identify mushrooms. Mushroom Appreciation’s page on Giant Puffball mushrooms has lots of pictures, puffball facts, and identification tips and says (in part):

Giant puffballs are saprotrophs, meaning they feed on dead organic matter. They’re more likely found in meadows and grasslands than in the forest. They are always found growing on the ground rather than up in trees.

Giant puffballs are aptly named. They are usually quite large, reaching soccer ball size or bigger. They usually have a circumference (distance around) of 4 to 30 inches, although larger ones are not uncommon. There is no distinct cap and stem with these mushrooms; instead they exist as just large, white globes. They may not be perfectly round. Giant puffballs are white with firm white flesh inside. If they appear yellowish or brown is means that the mushroom is about to/has gone to spore, and is not edible anymore.

…Correct identification is crucial. If you think you’ve found a giant puffball the first thing to do is cut it open. It should have thick, hard, white flesh inside. Don’t eat anything with a brown, black, purple, or yellow interior. It may be an earthball (Scleroderma citrinum) or some other gastric distress inducing mushroom.

This white flesh should be solid with no gills. If you see any evidence of gills disregard immediately. Some species, including the deadly Amanita, have a “universal veil” of tissue that surrounds the mushroom when young. This can make it look like a puffball.

Inexperienced hunters should check with someone knowledgeable if they think they’ve found a giant puffball. An incorrect guess can kill if it turns out to be an Aminita! Please be careful.

Julie shared the Enya quote above, and she shares a ton of great photos in the Absolute Michigan pool. Check her photo out bigger and get yourself in the spirit of the season with her Fall slideshow!

If you do find a giant puffball, here’s a recipe from the Mycological Society of San Francisco’s excellent page on Puffballs from Hope Miller, coauthor of the book Mushrooms in Color.

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • About 1 pound puffballs, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter or more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons oil or more if needed

Mix the salt with the flour. Dip the mushroom slices in the flour, then in the egg, and last, in the cheese. Melt the butter and oil in a sauté pan or skillet and sauté the mushrooms slowly until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve at once.

OK. I can do that.

2016 Michigan Morel Season Underway!

Backyard Morels

backyard morels, photo by Jason Rydquist

I’ve been getting word from various parts of the state that morel mushrooms are being found! They’re one of my favorite Michigan foods, and over on Absolute Michigan today I’ve put together Five Things you need to know about Michigan Morels. It includes a new online tool that could be of use to morel hunters so check it out!

View Jason’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Lots more morels on Michigan in Pictures.

Golden Mushroom

Mushroom by Kevin Povenz

Mushroom, photo by Kevin Povenz

Kevin says that Google suggests this mushroom is amanita flavoconia, putting it squarely in the “look but probably better not eat” category.

View it bigger and see more in Kevin’s Flowers/Plants slideshow.

More mushrooms on Michigan in Pictures.

The colors of fall are all around

Explore colors of fall - wild mushroom

Explore colors of fall – wild mushroom, photo by bumkicho

Bumki Cho offers a visual reminder that the colors of fall are up, down and all around.

Check the photo out background big and see more in his slideshow.

More fall on Michigan in Pictures!

Know Your Michigan Mushrooms: Black Trumpet

IMPORTANT NOTE: Mushrooms can be dangerous and even deadly! Be careful and know what you’re eating. As the saying goes: “There are old mushroom hunters, and bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.”

Black Trumpet

Black Trumpet, photo by I am Jacques Strappe

The Michigan Morel Hunters Club features mushrooms that are in season in their Mushroom of the Month. One of the late summer mushrooms they have  highlighted are Black Trumpets (Craterellus cornucopioides):

Black Trumpets (aka horn-of-plenty) mushrooms are a wonderful edible mushroom that grows in Michigan from July through September. They are fragile mushrooms that look like a cornucopia (horn-of-plenty) or maybe like trumpets but are black or gray instead of gold. Despite somewhat funereal descriptions and European names (trompette de la morte in French and trombetta dei morti in Italian), they are very tasty mushrooms that can be widely used in cooking. They are strongly flavored mushrooms with a fragrant aroma. Their strong flavor and aroma allows them to be used in a wide variety of dishes. Though they are difficult to find, they are definitely worth pursuing. Fortunately, they grow in clusters so there often are many where one is found.

…Trumpets are ideal for sophisticated dishes because of their fragrant aroma and strong flavor. Because of their fragrant aroma they are often dried and pulverized for use as a seasoning for everything from soup to steak. They are very easy to dry requiring only a few hours in a dehydrator or a couple of days of open air drying. They are delicious sautéed in butter with parsley and chives as a side dish.

Read more at the MMHC including how to identify them. A good thing is that the only similar mushroom (black chantarelle) is also edible! Also check out these black trumpet photos and ID tips at MushroomExpert.com.

Marjorie says that they found a grove of these tasty critters and harvested a large bag full of them … and that they smell like apricots. View her photo bigger and see more in her surprisingly large fungus & lichen slideshow. There’s lots more from Marjorie on Michigan in Pictures including her multi-day Michigan Photographer Profile.

More mushrooms on Michigan in Pictures!

Happiness is a Bowlful of Morels!

A day's find

A day’s find, photo by HLHigham

Morels are popping up all over, and though you might not find 98 like Heather did, even a handful of these delectable  mushrooms will make it all worth it. If you’re in the Boyne City area this weekend, they hold their annual National Morel Mushroom Festival. You might also be interested in Five Things You Need to Know about Michigan Morel Mushrooms on Absolute Michigan.

Heather got this tasty haul near Rapid City and she might write about it on her blog, Rapid City Recess. Check it out background bigtacular and see more in her slideshow!

Lots more morel goodness on Michigan in Pictures!