Morels-- if you know, you know.

These delectable fungi are considered a delicacy in Michigan and the upcoming mushroom hunting season is fast approaching. Here's the lowdown on hunting morels in the Mitten this season.

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What Are Morels?

Morels are a type of hearty wild mushroom that are characterized by their "nutty, earthy flavor." goes on to describe morels as,

...a meaty texture, unlike the more slimy texture of other mushroom varieties. These mushrooms are a highly desired ingredient among chefs and mushroom enthusiasts. The reason? They're only grown in the wild

Morel hunting is a popular springtime activity here in Michigan. You'll often find foragers traversing through the forest with their mesh bags on the prowl for these highly coveted fungi.

But beware! Not all mushrooms that look like morels are edible. Known as "false morels" these deceptive mushrooms are actually poisonous. Only white morels, black morels, half-free morels, and burn-site morels are considered edible. Learn how to identify your morels here.

Where Do They Grow?

Although the northern Michigan town of Mesick is known as the "Mushroom Capital of the United States", some of the best morel hunting happens in southern Michigan.

Morels have been known to grow in dark wooded areas, typically near water or dead tree logs. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says beech-maple or pine forests, burned-over meadows, or under hardwoods are among the best spots to find morels.

MiWilderness via YouTube
MiWilderness via YouTube

When Is Morel Season?

According to Pure Michigan, May is Morel Month here in the Mitten. The morel fruiting period begins in late April and can last through mid-June, depending on the location and type of morel mushroom.

This year the 64th annual Mesick Mushroom Festival will take place May 12-14 and features mushroom hunting, parade, concerts, family-friendly events, and vendors. Of the festival Pure Michigan says,

Mesick is known for being a great area for finding morel mushrooms in particular... there’s a better chance that hunters both new and experienced will be able to find some of these elusive mushrooms during the festival

Check out Michigan's complete guide to morel hunting here. Do you plan on foraging this spring?

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