Loose Morels

Couple weeks ago, our friends Amy and Warren sent an email about the joys of foraging, a note that simultaneously warmed my heart and turned me pea-green with envy. With their permission, I’m sharing it with all y’all.

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I know you will appreciate these stories of free food. Earlier in the spring we made the astounding discovery that there were morel mushrooms growing in our backyard. There are some overgrown holly trees with hanging limbs partially obscuring a nice layer of decomposing leaves. Not sure what Warren was doing looking up in there but he spotted one, then another and another, then some in our neighbor’s yard. After double-checking our mushroom guide and the internet, we determined they were, in fact, morels and wouldn’t kill us. I knocked on the neighbor’s door and she was more than happy to let us have them. We sauteed them in butter and garlic and had them over pasta topped with parmesan cheese.

Then a couple of weeks ago we had a dead tree taken down in the backyard. For a cheaper price, the tree guy didn’t haul it away but cut the tree into short sections for Warren to roll off into the woods. Procrastination pays off as two days later the tree sprouted a huge crop of oyster mushrooms. Once again, we checked the mushroom book and the internet and emailed photos to Warren’s German cousin’s Norwegian husband, Ingvar. Every time we go to visit, Ingvar takes us mushroom picking in Denmark, and one year we harvested oyster mushrooms. We had several meals of them before they all turned to brown slime. Now we are on the watch for them and have seen two batches on the Fall Line Trace between our house and Flat Rock Park. We walk to Flat Rock every morning just after sunrise and several days we took bags and picked handfuls of wild blueberries. There are hundreds of wild blueberry bushes! We’ve had buttermilk blueberry pancakes several times and blueberry brulee and a fantastic zucchini/blueberry/lemon bundt cake.

What a wonderful reminder that nature provides nourishment for the body and soul in unexpected places, if we just keep our eyes open.

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