Explore America's Campgrounds
Need a great unique spring project! Ever heard of hunting for dry land fish? Dry land fish is a mushroom that usually grows in the woods. The season can vary by location, but in most states it is a spring treat. Usually April throughout June. Found typically through out the US except extremely dry areas such as a desert or along the south coast lines. It is the thickest in the great lake and mid-west areas. It is officially called a morel mushroom, and is a very tasty mushroom.
Items you will need
Ability to identify morel mushrooms
Outdoor clothing and shoes
Flour and meal
First step is to determine the season and growing patterns for your area. I have included a link for a map that tells siting dates for areas in the US.
Now you need to learn how to identify dry land fish. This mushroom is rather easy to recognize. It has a porous sponge like top and is hollow when sliced long ways. They range in color from white to black. There are 3 different types, all of which are edible. One type, though rare can in the right conditions grow to be a foot tall. Study the pictures, there is a link included. here is one mushroom that can be mistaken for morels, a false morel. These are non edible mushrooms. To distinguish the difference in the morels and false morel cut it in half long ways. The edible morel mushroom will be hollow, the false morel will have meat in the stem.
It's time now to prepare your hunting equipment. All you really need is appropriate clothing, shoes and a bag. A mesh onion or potato bag works well. You might consider bug spray if ticks are a problem in your area.
Where do you look? This wild mushroom loves moist areas. You will want to begin your hunt after a good spring shower. It seems that they can pop up almost over night. Dry land fish also like to grow near dead trees and old logs. Especially those of elms and ash trees. My father has good luck finding these near living beech trees. Once you find a good spot, it is likely to remain a good spot for years. Keep in mind to make notes of the areas you find them in abundance, for the upcoming hunting trips.
When you find mushrooms examine them and pick healthy looking ones. The younger ones usually have less damage. Don't pick ones that have turned completely black or have shrunken caps. Use your fruit picking sense when selecting mushrooms.
When you find favorable mushrooms, just cut them near the ground with a knife, or just simply pinch and twist them off. Throw them in your bag, and continue hunting until you get the desired amount. However, only pick what you can eat in the next few days because these do not have but a 2-3 day shelf life.
To prepare your mushrooms slice them in half long ways. This is when you want to double check, and make sure they are hollow on the inside. Throw away any that are not. Also inspect them for bad spots, and discard any that look unfavorable.
Soak your mushrooms in salt water overnight. Use 1 tbsp of salt per gallon of water. Do not be alarmed if you see insects in the water. This is normal.
After soaking the dry land fish overnight drain them. Dip in egg and roll in flour and meal and deep fry. Now sit back and enjoy your dry land fish!
- Some people can be allergic to wild mushrooms.
- If you are in doubt do not hunt for these alone and take an experienced hunter along with you.
- Please avoid eating any raw mushrooms.
- Make sure you are able to easily identify these mushrooms.
- Avoid mushrooms with meat inside, these can be false morels.
- Do not eat decaying or rotting mushrooms, they can make you ill.
- Do not eat little brown mushrooms.
- For more information about poisonous mushrooms see the resources.
- Great project for spring. Something new and different. For more great spring projects see the ehow spring guide posted in the resources.
- thegreatmorel.com, wikipedia, photobucket