Yes, I know I said I don’t do mushrooms, but I really do love them. And morels are some of the easiest to identify. Only problem is they’re fairly rare in Texas so finding them can be a little of a pain in the backside. I’m still questing for land owners that will allow me to harvest on their property. Their unique hollow insides, complete lack of gills, and honeycomb caps are striking. They can be found at specialty gourmet stores at $40 per pound and higher.
The clues for hunting them is time of year, temperature, soil, and water.
- You find them in the last two weeks of March and first two weeks of April.
- Temperatures need to be between 50 and 80 degrees.
- They require alkaline soil. Normally loam over limestone. They do not like acidic sand, so they typically aren’t found in east Texas. The exception to this is where there’s been a large burn and a lot of wood ash leached the acid out and makes it alkaline. But typically they’re found in a narrow band from Blanco through Austin to Texoma.
- They don’t like wet feet. They’re not in the creek beds, but on north facing slopes above the water table. Look in mixed cedar / oak / elm forests when the dewberries are blooming.
All of that said, BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN of your identification before harvesting. They must be completely hollow from root to tip. They must have that honeycomb structure for the cap, not ridges or folds. There’s been thousands of dollars in fines from people stealing mushrooms from protected areas. Be smart. Be safe. And always remember the rules and ethics of foraging. This is the hardest mushroom to find in Texas but the easiest to identify.