The morel mushroom (Morchella esculenta) is a nutrient-dense fungus that is loved for its flexibility, taste, and texture. The act of buying dried morel mushrooms is simple but does require an awareness of certain elements, such as moisture content. Today, we’re going to alert you to the finer aspects of choosing the best-dried morel mushrooms available.
People buy dried morel mushrooms for their robust, earthy, and hardy flavor. These delectable dried delicacies have an elongated, honeycombed cap, rather than a standard, broad cap. Also known as the sponge mushroom, Morchella, or pinecone mushroom, the morel is a great addition to pizzas, stews, pasta dishes, and more. Its meaty texture is perfect for dishes that require a hearty consistency.
If you’re new to buying morel mushrooms and you have no idea how many pounds of morel you’ll get once reconstituted, know that the general rule of thumb is that it takes 6 to 7 pounds of fresh morel mushrooms to make just 1 pound of dried morel mushrooms. These highly sought-after mushrooms can only be found in the wild and are brought to stores via professional pickers.
When it Comes to Buying Dried Morel Mushrooms, Where Can I Find Them?
You can buy dried morel mushrooms at a variety of establishments. The first and most obvious is your local supermarket. After that, there is a chance you’ll find them at farmers’ markets and even well-supplied health food stores.
Online is another source when it comes to buying dried morel mushrooms. In fact, if you can’t find them at your local market when shopping, check out that market’s webpage. For instance, while Whole Foods Market doesn’t stock the mushrooms in every store location, it does stock them on it’s. You can even find dried morel mushrooms on eBay of all places! Other places include:
As you can see, due to their extensive popularity, you’ll definitely find a business online or off which sells them. One warning: When shopping for dried morel mushrooms only use establishments you can trust. After all, the morel mushroom does have imposters. These imposters look like morels but can make you ill if you ate one. It’s perfectly fine to contact the seller to ask about the quality of their morels. Also, they do sell mushroom test kits that detect poisonous mushrooms as well.
How to Locate Dried Morel Mushroom at the Local Grocery Store?
When it comes to buying dried morel mushrooms in the grocery store, it’s a good idea to call the store ahead of time to see if they even carry them. However, if you’re going on a general weekly food shopping trip, you can ask once you get there. In general, dried morel mushrooms will be in the spice and herbs section. Look for the aisle that sells dried items such as dried tomatoes and dried peppers. This is the aisle most likely to have the dried morel mushrooms.
Also, visit the produce section of the grocery store. Often times various mushroom varieties are placed in or near the Asian section. Take a look there for any hanging racks of them and check the shelves as well.
How to Select the Absolute Best Dried Morel Mushrooms?
Dried morel mushrooms are sold in see-through packaging. When looking for the best package of dried morel mushrooms, it’s not as simple as it may seem. In order to get the best value for your dollar, you need to check up on a few things.
1. Examine the Packaging
First things first, take a close look at the packaging to ensure that it has no holes. Dried morel mushrooms need to be sealed so no moisture enters.
2. Take a Close Look at the Contents
Next, take a close look at the contents of the packaging. Your dried morel mushrooms should be nice, large, solid cuts of mushroom. In other words, the contents of the package should not appear crumbled or crushed in any way. Of course, there may be some crumbles due to shipping and handling. But by and large, the dried morel mushroom pieces should be intact.
3. Look for Signs of Moisture
As you examine your package of dried morel mushrooms, you should note that none should look shriveled. If so, pass up on that package as it may mean moisture has entered the bag.
4. Avoid Moldy Morel Mushrooms
This is another hazard that’s the result of poor shipping and handling practices. Examine the contents for any sign of mold. Not only is mold unsightly with a bad smell, but it also can be dangerous to your health.
5. Check for Holes
As unsavory as this next bit is, it’s real and you need to check for it. Again, look closely at the contents of the package. What you’re looking for are holes in the mushrooms. Holes in the mushrooms mean that some little bugs may have been feasting on them while in the package, and we know that you don’t want to put that in your recipe!
What to Expect to Pay for Dried Morel Mushrooms?
When it’s time to buy yourself some more mushrooms, the actual price may shock you. For you see, the morel is one of the most expensive varieties of mushroom on the market. How expensive you ask? Well, just one pound of these tasty forest dwellers can cost upwards of $160.00 at Walmart. There are a few reasons for their high cost, the first being that they are difficult to domesticate. In other words, foragers or mushroom hunters need to travel to the area and root around for them. Not an easy task to be sure. Another reason is that they can only be harvested between March and June. Finally, freshly foraged morel mushrooms are quite fragile and many can be lost during transport.
Powdered Morel Mushrooms: An Option for Those Who Need Just a Taste
Let’s face it, the morel mushroom has a potent flavor. Most people purchase it just for that reason. However, there are those who love the flavor but may find the texture too meaty or the taste too strong. As a result, sellers also have another option: Powdered morel mushrooms. This is nothing more than dried morel mushrooms that have been ground into a powder. This allows morel mushroom enthusiasts to gently add the perfect amount of flavor for each dish.
These exotic-tasting fungi with the honeycombed cap can add depth and flavor to almost any cuisine. A little on the expensive side for some, dried morel mushrooms make up for it when added to your favorite dish. These mushrooms can be found in grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and online. However, due to their expensive price tag don’t expect to find bins of them. What many more mushroom fanciers do to cut the costs is to become a mushroom hunter. Not only can you make good bank hunting for morels, but you can take home as much as you want. For more information on this and the morel mushroom in general, check out The Great Morel.
Morel mushrooms are highly prized for their unique, earthy flavor and meaty texture. They are also rich in nutrients and antioxidants, making them a healthy addition to any diet.