Fungi: Storing Morels

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How to store morels

Morel mushrooms have a unique taste almost as unique as their appearance. These brain / sponge like mushrooms have a delicate flavour like no other and as such, they are highly prized. Sometimes it is difficult to find even one morel in the woods (make sure you look out for sandy soil!), but sometimes when it rains it pours… A whole crop! This article addresses how not to let these precious morsels go to waste, we will explore the various methods available to you including:

  • Refrigeration – although this will not make the morel last as long as drying, if you get it right you can get much greater longevity out of your mushroom.
  • Drying – this is the most common way to store mushrooms long-term, however, the process of drying often leads to the loss of various aromatic compounds which means they end up not tasting as great in comparison to other storage methods.
  • Freeze Drying – best for quality, longevity and retaining the most nutritional value.
  • Canning – you can use this for very long-term storage and even selling say at a market stall or in a convenience store.

How to store morels in the refrigerator…

Clean the morel mushrooms. From the time when one is harvesting, it is advisable that they cut the morel mushroom leaving the ‘root‘ part or dirtball of the stem in the soil. This limits the amount of dirt collected with the mushrooms. In addition, one may use either a soft brush or just their hands to clean off any excess dirt.

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Storing morel mushrooms in the refrigerator. There are a number of procedures that one may take in preparing morel mushrooms for storage. The first of those is to clean the mushrooms then wrap them in a damp towel or cloth and store them in the fridge. The second way is most common in Missouri. After the morel mushrooms have been cleaned, they are placed in half-filled plastic containers with water. The containers are closed with a lid and refrigerated. Depending on the person, the end result of the morel mushrooms could be mushy but again for others, it serves right. The third way consists of storing the morel mushrooms as though one was going to cook them. You take the cleaned morel mushrooms and soak them in salty water overnight and placed them in the fridge. Rinse them to remove the salt water and any dirt. Cut them into appropriate sizes and let them drip. Mix some eggs with some milk then dip the pieces of morel mushrooms into the mixture so that they are well coated. Drain the excess liquid and roll them in a bag on the floor so that they are evenly coated. At this point, you put them on a refrigerator shelf ensuring that they do not touch each other. You can now put them away in the refrigerator. Some people prefer to have them in a deep freezer, and when they are frozen solid they are then transferred to the refrigerator or the freezer box.

How long do morels last in the fridge?

Mushrooms can stay up to a week in the refrigerator before they are used for a meal.

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How to can morels…

  1. Canning or jarring morels is useful as you can keep them long-term without risking dehydration and spoilage. Essentially, canning involves boiling the mushrooms in an airtight container, killing the bacteria, and allowing you to store the mushrooms for around 5 years without spoilage.
  2. Select and wash the mushrooms. Select only morels that are worst off, if you have beautiful fresh morels keep them in the fridge, they should last until you need them. Trim stems and discoloured parts. Soak in cold water for 10 minutes to remove dirt. Wash in clean water.
  3. Cut up larger mushrooms. Leave small mushrooms whole; cut large ones so that they fit in the can better.
  4. Cook for 5 minutes. Cover with water in a saucepan and boil for 5 minutes. This makes the mushrooms soften and allows any trapped air within the mushroom to escape reducing the spoilage potential.
  5. Fill the jars or cans. Fill the jars with hot mushrooms, leaving 2-inch headspace.
  6. Add salt and Vitamin C. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pint to the jar if desired. For better colour, add 1/8 teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder, or a 500-milligram tablet of vitamin C. This is added to lower the pH (making it more acidic) to kill any bacteria, reduce spoilage and add taste to the finished product.
  7. Alternatively, you can avoid adding vitamin C, however, you will need to perform further sterilization techniques such as pressure cooking.
  8. Top with hot water. Leave at least 1 inch of headspace.
  9. Seal the jar or can. At this point, you can further boil the jars to ensure sterility but if you have followed the procedure above you should be fine. Store the cans in a dark temperature-controlled environment for up to 5 years.
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How to freeze dry morels…

The best way to freeze-dry morels is to purchase a freeze-drying machine, however, these can be expensive, therefore below we list a cheap and easy method to get the next best results:

  1. Place on a cookie sheet (greaseproof paper) and freeze for 2 hours.
  2. Place a single layer of frozen morels in a Ziploc bag and remove all access air. Vacuum pack if you can.
  3. Store in a freezer in a protective container or space where they won’t get beat up.
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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>