Every spring in Oklahoma there is a short window when one of my favorite things to hunt comes available. The allusive prey I am speaking of is the morel mushroom. Morel mushrooms are one of my favorite types of fungus to cook. I can recall having them as a little kid cooked with scrambled eggs for breakfast or fried as a side with grilled burgers. I think the hunt for morels is better than all of the great recipes they can be used for.

Every spring around the middle to end of April here in Oklahoma the ground starts to warm up and the redbuds begin to bloom. Once that happens, I know there are a couple of things it’s time to get excited about. Crappie fishing and morel mushroom hunting. Let me tell you that in Oklahoma, a good mushroom location is a secret that is held tighter than the prime fishing spot. People do not give up the location of their mushroom hunting grounds. The thing about morel mushrooms is that they are not easy to find and the window of harvesting them is approximately 2 weeks and maybe up to 3 weeks in a good year. Hunting morel mushrooms is like the ultimate Easter egg hunt, and I like to get the entire family involved when I can. We like to see who can find the first mushroom as well as the biggest mushroom. The crazy thing about mushroom hunting is that once your eyes get adjusted to what you are looking for the mushrooms seem to appear like magic. I promise the morel mushrooms are not the type that makes you see things.

Morel mushroom hunting is a great way to get the family out into nature. It has been my experience that kids usually find the first mushroom and then the frenzy begins to see who can find the most or the biggest. I’ve always thought that the kids find them first because they are lower to the ground because there is no way they are better at finding mushrooms than me.

Going out into the woods searching for morel mushrooms is another way for us to be intentional in making memories with our family. As you get out in God’s creation and make those memories with your family, remember to tell them what is on your mind as you see a pretty flower, a worm, or a beautiful sunset. The people we love can’t share those thoughts with us unless we verbalize them. When you find yourself in awe of nature, take the opportunity to thank God for his creation and share what you are thinking with those around you.

The last thing, watch out for ticks, poison ivy, and snakes.  They like this time of year also.

Chef Dan