By Sean LaBombard.
As the weather starts to warm up and winter slowly releases its grip on us, more than May flowers will follow the April showers. Spring is also the perfect time for those who forage for mushrooms to get out and see what’s popping.
Laurie Sybertz, an avid cook and “lite homesteader,” is one of those who enjoy foraging, and she always keeps her eyes open for mushrooms to use in a number of her recipes. While not a huge mushroom fan herself, it’s the practice of looking for them and the delight of finding them that really draw her to the hobby. She’ll often give her finds to friends and family who enjoy these edible fungi more.
Having taken a class on mushrooming, Laurie Sybertz can confidently identify and pick out three or four types of wild mushrooms, including morels that grow on her property and chanterelles that grow near the woods around her father’s property. Morels typically sprout after a solid rain at the beginning of May, and fresh morels are a real treasure.
Terribly difficult to cultivate due to their short growing season and how quickly they perish, a pound of morels can sell for $20 or more! Morels are meaty and have a nutty, earthy flavor to go along with their unique look. They’re great by themselves, sautéed or pan-fried with butter, or as an added ingredient in pastas, risottos, soups, and stews.
In addition to the quiche recipe to follow, Laurie uses wild mushrooms in a Russian-Style Mushrooms on Toast and a Cream of Mushroom Soup. In almost all recipes that call for wild mushrooms, there tends to be some flexibility about which types can be used. So, if you can’t find morels but come across other edible wild mushrooms, feel free to swap those into the recipe instead.
An important note: anyone who is thinking of getting into mushrooming should take care to accurately identify wild mushrooms before eating them. Mistakes can be deadly. If possible, take a class, or forage with someone who is experienced in mushrooming.
Online feature: find the recipe for Asparagus and Morel Quiche here.
Sean LaBombard is a freelance writer who enjoys exploring, eating, drinking, and experiencing everything that Worcester County and beyond has to offer. When he is not writing, Sean spends his time reading, cooking, homebrewing, and spending time with his quickly growing family.