Morel mushrooms look like they could house bees in their honeycomb holes and inside, they are hollow from the stem to the tip. They range in color from light gray to dark brown-the darker they are, the stronger their earthy hazelnut flavor will be. They are a very meaty mushroom that gives off a wood smoking smell. When picking out fresh mushrooms, select the ones that are firm, yet spongy.
Never eat them raw. But not to worry, they don’t need to cook long to release their flavor. Morels are great for creams, sauces, in pasta dishes, or as their own side. Here are two ways to prepare them; one recipe for fresh mushrooms and another for dried ones.
Since they do not flourish well for commercial production, you can only get these mushrooms fresh in spring and as late as early June. They can, however, be bought dried any time of year. Remember how we mentioned they grow well in scorched areas? Most foragers will immediately visit areas that have experienced recent forest fires to seek these mushrooms out.
Store fresh morels on a tray in a single layer and cover them with a damp towel for them to last three days. When dried, you can refrigerate or freeze them in a tolerant bag and they can last from six months to almost a year.