The Hunt

Who knew that one fine May afternoon I’d be traipsing through woods in western Minnesota looking for an elusive gourmet treat.

Since last year Julia had promised a trip to some unknown forested area where mosquitoes and ticks freely roam. The endgame was to find something that looks almost phallic in its appearance.

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Locating this fungi was simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating. Dressed in clothes that deter insect bites and sprayed with Deet repellant we ventured into some woods near Hutchinson. “Look for fallen, decaying elm trees”, she advised. Deep into the woods we pushed aside leaves, plants and clouds of mosquitoes — right clouds.

Julia had forewarned that finding the elusive plant could prove fruitless. She reinforced this by telling us, “I only found six or seven last weekend. So don’t be too disappointed if our booty is limited. Enjoy the hike and the weather. Bedsides the growing season is very short and we are searching at the tailed of the season.”

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Her comments were noted and off we went. Our spirits were resolute and for this I believe we received immediate gratification. Within minutes we located five fungi.

Per instruction we took each plant at its base — enabling it to regenerate for next year. Each plant shared a nutty aroma — causing tastebuds to come alive. As we searched the air came alive with laughter, sharing recipes and enjoying the freshness of the day.

For the better part of four hours we were able to collect nearly four pounds of fungi.

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Julia was astounded while we glowed. It was hot and humid so glowing was not a surprise.

Overwhelmed by our success and filled with a gnawing need to eat we decided to call it a day. We had wandered deeper than we realized so the hike out to the car took longer then expected. Once in the car we sped to Hutchinson for lunch.

The fungi have a brief shelf life so we washed some and fried them in butter and corn flour. The rest are in the frig. Some were given to Julia too.

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The nutty, rich taste was a delight. The texture was chewy like a fine steak.

I can’t wait until next year’s hunt for no other reason then to learn if this year’s haul was only beginner’s luck.

And that my friends is the Morel of the story.

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About tourdetom

I'm retired. Travel a lot.
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2 Responses to The Hunt

  1. Susan Peltola says:

    Have come across them in the wild only twice-first during my MN plant life botany course at the U. Our TA was so excited as he had found ONE morel in a park in Bloomington, that was the site of that week’s field trip. Then a woman in the class-English was her second language-confused by the excitement-was saying, “Where? Where?” as she stepped upon it and crushed it. When we were later taking the identifying plants quiz-I thought one was poison ivy for sure-but when the morel stomper was touching it and studying it, as that same TA looked on without stopping her-almost thought my answer was wrong-but I got 100 per cent on the quiz – never found out if the stomper got an itch.
    The second time was just a few years ago, right in the front yard of my cousin’s place in MT mountains. It was the wettest spring they had had in years and there I spotted ONE-they chopped it up in a scrambled egg-so was kind of hard to tell what the taste was like that has hunters so avid in their pursuit.
    Was in Lund’s after seeing the photos of your haul had me curious(and TC Live did a cooking demo-the day after your post, that had the hosts oohing and aahing at their first taste of the fresh morels)-$11.00 for a tiny package of dried morels.
    I guess I will just have to keep my eyes open in the woods or a wet mountain yard for my taste.
    You sure were lucky.

  2. tourdetom says:

    Agreed, it was an amazing experience. My friend Julia was very surprised and happy to share in our good fortune.

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