Edible Morel mushrooms are also known as "True Morels" and have a honeycomb-like appearance.
Morel Mushrooms is one of the most prized wild mushrooms, It is a unique type of mushroom found in woods.
They require very specific growing conditions that are not easily duplicated.
It is not easy to buy fresh morels in some markets and if you are lucky to find them they can be quite expensive.
The high demand in the world market for this mushroom has turned growing them into a sort of sport and culture.
In their natural habitat they come up in the springtime after the snow melts and their season is short.
Health Benefits of Morel Mushrooms
Morel mushrooms are low in calories, high in protein, and rich in vitamins and minerals.
They contain vitamin D2, Carbohydrates, Protein, Fiber, Iron, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin, and folate.
They have moderate levels of Vitamins B6, B3, B2, Manganese, Phosphorus, Copper, Selenium, Zinc.
Let's break down how these minerals and vitamins can help boost your health:
- As an antioxidant, it helps to protect against chronic heart diseases, stress and free radicals.
- According to a study published by researchgate.net, morel mushrooms have an unusual polysaccharide that stimulates and strengthens our immune system.
- They have several medicinal uses such as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral.
- This mushroom shows healing characteristics because it includes moderate levels of selenium and niacin which fights cancer.
- Morel mushroom is a natural remedy for diabetes because it can help lower blood sugar.
- They contain a high level of vitamin D2 which helps fight osteoporosis, cancer and obesity.
- They are low in fat and cholesterol which makes them a good choice for people on a diet.
How To Grow Morel Mushrooms At Home
There are various techniques for growing morel mushrooms. In this article we will cover two of the most popular ones:
Method 1 - How To Grow Morels Using A Growing Kit
The best time to plant is between summer and autumn.
This will give it time to grow over the next couple of seasons. Morel mushrooms typically sprout around spring.
Select a spot in the shade that is 4x4 feet in size.
The easiest choice is to plant them on the side of a dying tree.
But that is not always an option. Space should be well shaded receiving less than three hours of direct sunlight per day.
Also, ensure the area has sandy soil.
Create your spawn bed with a mixture of peat moss and gypsum.
The ratio should be 10 gallons of peat moss to 1 gallon of gypsum.
The calcium sulfate in your gypsum helps with increasing the size of the mushrooms caps.
You can then add ashes from burnt logs or woodchips to boost nutrient supply.
Spread your morel spawns into the bed within the top layer evenly to give the morel mushrooms more chance to grow
Sprinkle some wood chips on hardwood chips on top of your spawn bed. This helps prevent the spread of weeds or unwanted plants.
It can take up to 2 years for your morel mushrooms to fully grow.
For the first year only, water it once a week and then leave it alone for the next year.
The second season increases watering to twice a week and finally the third season you will need to water daily.
During the growing season, you will need to remove any weeds or unwanted plants that can potentially harm your morel mushrooms.
These include things like poison ivy, oak weed, dandelion, and kudzu. Check them regularly because if they are not removed naturally then your morels may die off too.
Method 2 - Growing Morels Using Spawn
The spawn method is very similar to using a growing kit, but this time you use the spores from a morel mushroom instead of a morel grow kit.
Buy some dried mushrooms from your local grocery store and soak them in water for 20 minutes.
They should expand up to three times their original size.
Drain the water and cut up raw chicken liver into small pieces, mixing it in with the morel mushrooms.
This is a great source of nutrients for your growing morels to speed up growth.
You can also use other types of meats such as beef, pork, or even fish so long as they are fresh.
Tie up your morel mixture with the string and hang it in a dark, dry place. Ensure there is enough air ventilation to keep it fresh. It's ideal for this to be in an outdoor space but you can also use your oven or basement if need by.
Hang it up in a dark, dry place for several weeks to allow the spores to drop into the jar.
Get your growing medium ready by cutting up straw or oat straw into small pieces.
It should be around 1/2 inch in size. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with water and mix it along with your straw, allowing it to soak overnight.
After a few days, you will notice a dark slime growing on the top of your water. This is called mycelium and is what grows into morel mushrooms.
Remove this top layer of slime and add it to your jar containing the spores from the morel mushroom
Stir the two mixtures together with a fork and add them to a five-gallon bucket. Ensure it is in an area where it will receive shade all day long
Add some more straw on top of the mixture, but not too much so that it covers your spawn. Allow the mixture to stay in the Bucket for up to three weeks, stirring once or twice a week
After three weeks, it's time to sprinkle your spawn into the soil in the four corners of the area you chose with an eight-foot distance between each corner.
The morel mushrooms should be ready to pick in six months when they are fully grown.
The most important thing is that you can not rush things.
You need to wait patiently for the right time to pick them up and ensure you are making the best use of your spores.
How to Eat Morel Mushrooms in the Best Way Possible
Morels are prized for their earthy flavor and meaty texture.
Once exposed to heat, they develop a sponge-like texture that soaks up sauces or dressings, making them great for use in casseroles.
Morels can be eaten as a snack, used in salads, chicken, and steak dishes.
Morel mushrooms can be pickled or dried in addition to the conventional methods of sauteing, baking, and frying.
Cleaning and brushing their caps before hanging them on racks for air-drying for at least 10 days is the most common technique for French preservation.
Mushrooms should be stored in an airtight container or placed within a freezer bag and stored inside the freezer for up to one year.
Growing Morels from Home - In Summary:
Morel mushrooms are a delicious treat that has more benefits than just being tasty.
If you're able to properly grow them in your home, they can be harvested all year round.
The spawn method is perfect for those who are not looking to spend too much money but still want to enjoy the final product of growing their own morels.
Which of the above methods have you tried and what was the result?
Have you ever eaten morel mushrooms? How did they taste? If you've never had them before, would you like to try them?
Share your thoughts in the comments below! 👇👇👇