Morel season is upon us, so the shroom crazies are out in full force. My friend Jerad isn't that crazy, but he did search his dad's hunting property for morels on Monday. While he found a few little morels, he mostly found what he calls "peckerheads."
These mushrooms are actually called Morchella semilibera or the half-free morel. According to MushroomExpert.com:
Half-free morels are easily separated from other morels by cutting them in half, lengthwise. The cap of the half-free morel is attached to the stem half way (more or less; "one-third to two-thirds" might be more accurate), so that a substantial portion hangs free like a skirt. Other true morels have caps that are (again, more or less) completely attached to the stem--while false morels in the genus Verpa have caps that hang completely free, like a thimble placed on a pencil eraser.
Half-free morels are edible and good, but they are often bypassed by morel hunters because they are less substantial than other morels. The caps, at maturity, are comparatively small, and the stems have a watery, fragile consistency. I have found, however, that collecting half-free morels is well worth your culinary time; when dried and turned into powder with a rolling pin, they make a wonderful morel "spice" that can be added to sauce.Jerad shared his bag-o-shrooms with me tonight. First, we soaked the shrooms to get all the dirt & creepy-crawlies out.
Is that a moth down there?