Morels, like all fungi and mushrooms, have an especially quick shelf life once picked. However, there are a variety of ways to store morels for future use.
As soon as picked, morels ought to be washed, cleaned and refrigerated quickly if they are to be eaten or frozen for storage. Morels (particularly these later in the picking season) are attractive to ants and different insects, each for the interior spores, and for the tough shelter they offer.
Morels, like many wild fungi and mushrooms, go soggy very quickly if not properly dealt with or stored, because of the spore content material within them. Morels are largely water, anyway, so they do not hold up well, particularly in heat. Don’t pack them too tightly when picking or storing, as morels compact easily.
Since salt bothers (and even kills) many bugs, one of the best ways to clean morels is to dissolve 2 tbsp of salt into every quart of warm water used, and immerse the morels within the resolution, washing them for several minutes, letting them stand for one-half hour, then draining. When you want a more thorough wash, either slit the morels in half lengthways before immersing, or puncture the slim finish to permit easier drainage after washing within the salty solution. You’ll want to lower off the fibrous root-like tendrils, before washing, which are likely to be hooked up to the bottom of the morel when picking. This root-like mass, and the valleys of the morel honeycomb, tend to pick up small particles of dirt, sand and humus, contributing to a gritty, disagreeable texture with poorly cleaned morels.
Morels can be dehydrated, using a regular fruit dehydrator (available at Wal-Mart). Make certain that the morels are fully dehydrated, then store in a paper bag in a dry, dark pantry. To rehydrate morels, merely soak them for 1-2 hours in warm water or thin sauce.
Dried morels are nice for taking on a backpacking or camping trip, because of their light weight, durability and ease of rehydrating. They are good complements to almost any meat or eggs, and work well with true wildcraft harvests of boiled cattail root or fried dandelion greens! Many campers use dried morels like chewing tobacco, letting the morels rehydrate between gums and cheek for a real time-delayed style explosion.
To freeze morels, wash & drain them, then in a deep fry pan, melt butter, add pepper (or garlic, if desired) and the morels, and cook over medium low heat for as much as 5-8 minutes. With the liquid, store the mushrooms in an hermetic container or freezer bag in the refrigerator for as much as 6 months.
If utilizing morels within 2-three days of picking, wash totally and drain until dry. Place loosely in a paper bag and store in the refrigerator, as you would with white button mushrooms.
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