North of Hwy 20

Discussion in 'Iowa' started by paulhans79, May 5, 2015.

  1. paulhans79

    paulhans79 Morel Enthusiast

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    I'm pretty much a newbie at mushroom hunting and am looking for any advice. Has anyone been out north of hwy 20 and had any luck? I am in Pocahontas and Humboldt counties mostly and have been out several times but haven't been able to find anything except what I think are a few Pheasant backs. I think I have figured out how to identify elm trees properly now but I'm still coming up empty handed. Wondering if maybe it's too early that far north or if I'm just looking in the wrong spots maybe. Any advice would be helpful!
     
  2. yendor22

    yendor22 Morel Enthusiast

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    Thinking of comjng up there sun for one last hunt,could use a hunting buddy paul,im not a novice n could help u out,n You could help cause im not from iowa
     

  3. paulhans79

    paulhans79 Morel Enthusiast

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    I don't think I could swing that on Mothers day, but I appreciate the offer! :)
     
  4. chrigs

    chrigs Morel Enthusiast

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    I live 2.5 counties nw of you, Ihave spot that produces every year if the ground has enough moisture. Yesterday I found a dousen very small morels in a spot that gets plenty of sun, so the next 2 weeks should be good. assuming your soil temp is a liitle warmer than ours, things should be going there. I have been taking notes for years on my spot and usually mothers day is about the start of things although last year it was the end of may due to colder temps. Its important to when, lots of guys get antzie and tromp though good ground to early, ruling it out, get frustrated and give up. In my area here is what I look for; 4 inch soil temps when it hits the 60 deree mark for several days(google iowa soil temps). dandelions have gone to seed for the 1st time, lilocs are in full bloom . when you know its early, consentrate on south facing slopes, areas that get more son ect. don't get frustrated, when you here other people finding hoards, its a thing that takes years to master( and I havn't). Just enjoy the sights of spring woodlands, yesterday I almost stepped on a nest of wood cocks, I almost always find something new, even when I come back empty handed (More times than not) it is still worth while, Good luck. also this forum is very help ful, I know that when the are finding them in Sioux city area , Im about 2 weeks behind them.
     
  5. morninglight67

    morninglight67 Young Morel

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    Thanks to chrigs... this is some of the best advice I've read about when to look for morels. I'm in the Des Moines area and never have luck.
     
  6. paulhans79

    paulhans79 Morel Enthusiast

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    Appreciate the advice! I went out again today for around an hour over lunch and came up empty again. I did run into another mushroom hunter, however, and he thought that we needed a few more days before they would start coming up. He seems much more experienced than me but who knows. I did find a couple of those pheasant back mushrooms that I have seen others talking about. I seem to find a couple of those every time but they don't look that appealing so I'm holding out for morels!

    The undergrowth seemed to be getting bigger making it more difficult to search so I wasn't sure if maybe that was the issue. I think I'm getting better at identifying elm trees at least so that's a good thing! Although identifying them by the bark alone is still a challenge to me. I need to be able to get a good look at the leaves to be sure. The bark just seems to confuse me for some reason. Thanks again for the words of encouragement. Hopefully I will be able to get out and try again this weekend or early next week.
     
  7. kb

    kb Morel Connoisseur

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    paul, Bark and branch patterns are what you need to learn. The best ones have all the bark and no leaves. Only good elm is a dead one. you will get better.
     
  8. shroom god

    shroom god Morel Connoisseur

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    kb nailed it.

    Learning the tree shapes, bark texture, color, and branch patterns (very important) will make a huge difference between a random stroll in the woods and a purposive mushroom hunt. Learn to "tree hunt," and bear in mind that there are different elm species too, each distinctive in its own right.

    While the roots of an elm generally tend to offer primary support for mycorrhizal association, induce fruiting or unfurling upon the elm's death, other trees can also support association and, in such instances, the fruiting can be exceptional. Soft maple, cottonwood, birch and even pin oak can yield bountiful harvests for those with sharpened senses who can read the forest and its microclimates like a book! Finally, dumb luck enters the equation: they are where they are. While there are general tendencies--some quite strong--it is sometimes the case that they simply defy the rules and can be found in your backyard, or the mulch, etc.

    Ultimately, the mysterious and relativistic nature of this magic moment in the spring is what impels me to reconnect with the earth and a distant human past--hunting, foraging, gathering. The primal awakening that coincides with spring is an essence of being that we must grasp. Enjoy the woods and all that it reveals.
     
  9. paulhans79

    paulhans79 Morel Enthusiast

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    Finally I was able to find a load of morels! Tons of big yellows. The only bad thing is several were starting to crumble and had a white mildewy substance on them. I assume that means we are getting near the end of the season in my area.

    Now I have another problem (a good problem to have). I have way more morels than I will be able to eat before they go bad. What is the best way to preserve them for several months? Right now I just have them sitting in the fridge until I decide what to do with them. I haven't soaked them or anything yet. Any advice would be appreciated!
     
  10. shroom god

    shroom god Morel Connoisseur

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    Paulhans79, apparently you've stood on the threshold of the doorway of mushroomer hell: touch, crumble, despair. Had you chanced upon these tomorrow or Wednesday you would have likely fallen to your knees and wept at the torment of your misfortune, surrounded by the sea of morchella esculenta that would momentarily become dust in the wind..

    Fortunately you were able to pick and they remained intact. Do not concern yourself with a little white mold here and there. Process them and consume them as you see fit, and enjoy each morsel. See my reply on freezing. I also dry some, but freezing is the better option for later season morels.

    Exciting stuff, hey? Those will taste good when the snow flies.

     
  11. morninglight67

    morninglight67 Young Morel

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    Paulhans79, I do my soak in salt water to clean them, then dredge them in a milk and egg mix and coat with crushed saltines. I then lay them out on cookiesheets and put them in the freezer to freeze. Once frozen, I put them into ziplock freezer bags. Then I can pull a few out at a time to saute up in butter.... very little difference from cooking them fresh.
     
  12. chrigs

    chrigs Morel Enthusiast

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    Paulhans
    Congrats. , you broke through to the other side, you are part of the 15% ers, I estimate that 85% of people have ever foun d or tried a morel. How sad for them. Walleye fillet, fresh asperigus , fried morels , with a cold german beer, is a meal fit for a king.
    Morninglights freezing method is the way to go, I use flower, but I am definetly going to try the saltines ,I dehydrate or freeze some without breading for pizza or steak toppings.
    They are just starting up here in Dickenson co., I picked my 1st 2#this morning, God willing, the best is yet to come up here
     
  13. amanitagirl

    amanitagirl Young Morel

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    Great posts on all the topics. Visiting Fairfield for a few days. I know it's too rainy :cry: but I have the weekend to travel some distance to look... am free Sunday and Monday, May 17 & 18. Would love to join other fungophiles or just take a drive and take my luck. Thank you :wink: