April and May mean mushroom hunting season to many Ohioans! If all you've ever had are the button mushrooms or crimini, then you may not understand the crazed hobby of going out to find morels. The thrill of the hunt is so fun and then, wow! Eating the morel is a uniquely delectable experience that is as nutritious as it is delicious!
First of all, morels have it all over the button, portabella and crimini mushrooms for nutritional value. According to Dr. Weil on his website, these other mushrooms contain natural carcinogens. If you must eat store-bought mushrooms, he suggests you go for the shitake and enoki, both cancer fighting. Additionally, the shitake encourages the body to absorb cholesterol and sweeps it, to some extent, out of the bloodstream. But it is the morel that is the big winner for mushroom nutrition. The morel can actually improve heart conditions due to its high levels of copper, vitamin E and potassium, according to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where they've performed a mushroom study and posted their findings in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Stalking the morel mushroom for the avid hunter is every bit as exciting as finding Easter eggs for a young child but eating the morel is also a huge treat, a bit more exciting than cracking open a boiled egg.
You can prepare mushrooms and serve them in any number of great presentations but my favorite mushroom meal is a simple garden salad, freshly-caught and fried bluegills or bass, mushrooms fried with an egg-cornmeal batter, and a slice of home-baked bread with real butter. In order to do that, you have to over-indulge your senses by actually going fishing, mushroom hunting and then eating one of the best meals imaginable! If you're able to do that within a 2-day span, perhaps you've just died and gone to Heaven but I've lived to experience that triple treat and it reminds me that I am loved! Pure Heaven! It's living too rich to do it very often but when it comes together with family and friends, it's a memorable and thankful moment!
So, how does one know when the morel is out and about? I had a friend who would say, "There's a fungus among us!" Then I'd know that all I had to do was look. I had another friend who would plop herself onto a downed tree, light a cigarette, and then, clearing her head, would smell them. Then I'd know that all I had to do was smell that wonderful mustiness that is undeniably a morel. Lacking those indicators, I keep all my senses aware, even touch. Yes, I have literally stumbled on a mushroom! But, although my father used to say he could hear them pop up out of the ground, I don't think so.
The best indicator for me that morels may be nearby is when I'm out in the woods and see the black funnel mushroom, edible but not palatable. That lets me know that conditions are also right for morels. Where does that happen? Anywhere! I've found morels under all sorts of trees: pine, ash, elm, and the biggest morel I ever saw was right under a huge white oak! I've found them in grass along the edge of the road. As my dear old daddy used to say, "Mushrooms is where you find 'em." On that, he was right!
Ah, the elusive morel! Happy foraging!
Welcome to The Pauley Principle!
The Pauli Principle, named for Wolfgang Pauli, deals with atoms and electron-sharing that results in new, stronger bonds. Think 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen, a shared delectable (!) electron and VOILA! Water!
Similarly, when you prepare whole food to share with family and friends, especially foods you've grown, something amazing happens. Meals become tastier and healthier. Your soul, not just your stomach, becomes fulfilled. You live life more abundantly as a result. During a shared meal, the bonds that people create grow stronger and become something new: GREATER than the sum of the parts! I give you The Pauley Principle.