Morels for Mother’s Day

Thursday afternoon, I wandered by the homestead’s original rhubarb patch to look for morel mushrooms.

In 2013, to my complete surprise and delight, I found a morel growing out of the garden mound (see Miracle Morel). A mushroom returned in roughly that same spot for a year or two after that, then nothing. Still, I watched the spot, and hoped.

Predictably, I found nothing there. Then I glanced around the rest of the rhubarb mound, then did a double take. I found a morel elsewhere on the mound, then a second one on the opposite side of the patch!

morel mushroom

This is the smaller of the two morels (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

To say the family rejoiced would be putting it mildly. To add to the sweetness of the discovery, when I hiked out that evening to walk in with Michelle, we heard hermit thrushes singing in the forest for the first time this season. The next morning, they added the perfect note to the dawn chorus around the cabin (see A Shy Summer Neighbor: the Hermit Thrush).

morel mushroom

Here’s the larger of the two morels (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Since the discovery, we’ve examined the mound closely for more morels. Two mushrooms among three people seems thin rations, but I have a plan . . . .

I intend to harvest the first two mushrooms, check for more just in case, then saute them in just a little too much butter. I’ll toss into this as much linguini as I can coat, then make that small portion the centerpiece of a light Mother’s Day dinner. Hopefully, we’ll all get a taste of the precious mushrooms that way.

My research warns that morel mycilia are short lived. This new discovery, though, gives me hope. I wonder if, by dividing and replanting our rhubarb crown elsewhere around the homestead, we haven’t inoculated those patches with morels as well? That’s a delightful idea.

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