Morel mushroom hunters should be heading out this weekend to find the elusive edible.
Louisa County Conservation Naturalist Lana Artz-McComb says the ideal temperatures for finding morel mushrooms are highs in the 60s and lows above 40 degrees. Artz-McComb recommends hunters look in fairly open forested areas on well-drained slopes, as mushrooms tend to grow in more densely forested areas later in the season.
Artz-McComb says morel mushroom hunting is special because they are extremely difficult to grow at home, “I think going out and taking yourself for a hike usually you have to go off the beaten path, you have to find the right areas and you get to go searching. And once you find it they’re just a delicious, filling, flavorful treat. We get used to the store-bought mushrooms which have a little bit of texture, but don’t have a lot of flavor unless you get more expensive kinds. But some of these wild mushrooms just taste delicious when you put them in pasta sauce, or with eggs, or just eat them lightly sauteed.”
Mushroom hunting is welcome on all Louisa County Conservation areas, and recommended spots can be found at louisacountyconservation.org . Artz-McComb recommends newcomers watch out for false morels, which unlike real morels are filled with white fibers inside and can be poisonous.