These forest dwellers are a springtime delicacy.
Credit: Photo: Justin Walker

Learn: In the same fungi family as truffles, morels are cone-shaped mushrooms with a spongy, honeycomb texture and nutty, earthy flavor. They grow wild from early spring to late June.

Purchase: Look for fresh morels free of excessive dirt. They should be dry and springy but still firm. Colors range from pale yellow-tan to dark brown or black. Dried, canned, or frozen morels are available year-round.

Handle: Avoid rinsing any mushroom before storing, as water will accelerate spoilage. Gently clean with a soft, dry vegetable brush, and gingerly roll on the countertop to remove trapped dirt. Store in a loosely closed paper bag in the refrigerator up to two or three days.

Use: Morels are tasty lightly sautéed and served alongside other spring delicacies such as asparagus. If using dried morels, soak in warm water or broth for 30 minutes or until plump to rehydrate.