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Morel Mushrooms There for the Picking By Gary Howey

   Well, its suppose to be spring, with the temperatures  warming up, the snow geese have moved through and the turkeys hunting season is in full swing.

  This year, spring has come slowly, with heavy winds, then warmer temps followed by a freeze and an over abundance of rain which had Mother Nature not sure what was going on.

  It’s also suppose to be that time of the year when an infectious disease takes over the life of many avid outdoorsmen and women in the upper Midwest. It infects men, women, children and it doesn’t make any difference if you’re young or old!

   All of the old signs that I’ll talk about in this column have been all thrown out of whack, as the budding bushes and tress we usually rely on to let us know when it’s time to head out to check things out started to bud, froze and now coming on, so some of this information may be old news.

  What causes this infectious disease is a fungi soon to be popping up among us, it’s the morel mushroom and once they start poking their heads out of the ground, men and women leave their home, family and jobs heading for the river bottoms, island and hills on mushroom hunting excursions.

  Morels, found throughout the upper Midwest are easy to recognize and delicious, making them the most sought after of the wild mushrooms.

  Identifying morels from other mushrooms is easy. Morels are “elongated” with a white-off white stem and a crown made up of white-off white or grey pits or indentations. 

  They vary in color from off-white to gray in color.  The simplest way to explain what a morel looks like is to look for a mushroom growing on the ground resembling a cone shaped brain.

  Morels start popping up in the spring, this year they have been up early with my daughter Heather Kneifl and her husband Sid had a neighbor bring some over a week ago.

  In a normal year, they appear when temperatures reach around sixty degrees and above during the day with night temperatures between forty-five and fifty degrees or when the ground temperature gets between forty-five degrees and fifty degrees. [Read more…]