Re: Morel Hunting!
I live in the Pacific Northwest. Have never gone morel hunting. But I was invited to go "matsutake" hunting last Fall (October-November time frame) with two friends. I didn't go for the money - only for the fun of walking around in the woods and the sheer delight of searching for and finding these sometimes difficult-to-see mushrooms, some of which can be partially submerged in the ground. The "matsutake" have a unique woodsy-cinnamon scent. I'm not much of a cook, so I just gave away almost all of the ones I found to my friends, who were going to use them to cook and eat, not for $$ - although I know there are people who do sell them for profit.
They're pretty expensive to buy at the store locally, too. I gave my neighbor across the street a couple of big ones. She is an elderly lady who was born in Japan. She called me late that same evening and said she was so excited about the "matsutake" (and her plans to cook it the next day) that she couldn't get to sleep. She gave me 2 popular Japanese recipes, one for "sukiyaki" and one for "matsutake gohan", that call for this type of mushroom. She said that in Japan, these mushrooms will sell for maybe $100 a piece, with the "closed bud" ones that have not developed their flared mushrooms
"tops" being the most expensive!
The neighbor lady made the two dishes and invited me over to share them. They were dee-licious! Maybe I will try the recipes next year, if I get to go "shroom" hunting again. It was great fun!