Morel Mushrooms - How One Can Store And Preserve For Future Use
Morels, like all fungi and mushrooms, have an extremely quick shelf life as soon as picked. Nevertheless, there are a number of ways to store morels for future use.
As soon as picked, morels needs to be washed, cleaned and refrigerated quickly if they're to be eaten or frozen for storage. Morels (particularly those later in the picking season) are attractive to ants and other insects, both 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 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 insects, 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 in the resolution, washing them for several minutes, letting them stand for one-half hour, then draining. Should you want a more thorough wash, either slit the morels in half lengthways earlier than immersing, or puncture the slim end to allow easier drainage after washing in the salty solution. You should definitely minimize off the fibrous root-like tendrils, earlier than washing, which can be likely to be hooked up to the base of the morel when picking. This root-like mass, and the valleys of the morel honeycomb, are likely to pick up small particles of dust, sand and humus, contributing to a gritty, disagreeable texture with poorly cleaned morels.
Morels may be dehydrated, using a typical fruit dehydrator (available at Wal-Mart). Ensure that the morels are completely 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 great for taking on a backpacking or camping trip, because of their light weight, durability and ease of rehydrating. They are excellent 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 taste explosion.
To freeze morels, wash & drain them, then in a deep fry pan, soften butter, add pepper (or garlic, if desired) and the morels, and cook over medium low heat for up to 5-eight minutes. With the liquid, store the mushrooms in an hermetic container or freezer bag in the refrigerator for as much as 6 months.
If using morels within 2-3 days of picking, wash totally and drain until dry. Place loosely in a paper bag and store in the fridge, as you'd with white button mushrooms.
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