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Cleaning & Keeping Morels

Cleaning & Keeping Morels

If you live in a part of the country where morel mushrooms grow wild, you've undoubtedly heard the buzz about these famous fungi. Whether you've purposely gone on a search to find morels, or simply stumbled across them during a walk in the woods, you may be wondering what to do with your find once you bring them home. Here are a few tips.

First, slice the morels in half lengthwise. This makes it easier to clean the hollow stem, where you may find dirt. If the stem isn't hollow, the mushroom you're holding is not a morel and you should discard it.

Next, quickly soak the morels in a bath of lightly salted water. One tablespoon per quart of water is plenty. Any more salt than that, and you'll risk altering the taste of the mushrooms. Rinse and drain the morels well on paper towels and pat them dry. Water deteriorates mushrooms quickly. It is best to cook the clean morels right away, but you can keep them in the refrigerator as long as one day. Store the clean and dried morels in a vegetable-type plastic bag with holes in the refrigerator or in a freezer bag in the freezer. You can store unclean morels a few days longer in a paper bag with poked holes in the refrigerator. Clean them just before cooking.

To fry morels, dip the clean mushrooms in beaten eggs and then coat them with your favorite breading, such as panko or seasoned bread crumbs. Fry the breaded morels in a sauté pan in butter or oil until lightly browned.

Morels also can be sautéed in butter or oil with fresh sugar snap peas, green beans, or strips of sweet pepper to make a delicious side dish for grilled meals.

Tags: storage, Vegetables

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