Amidst the debris of Pacific Northwestern forest fires, the emergence of these Conica Morels is a glimmer of hope. Tucked deep into the bark of their host trees, dormant morel spores are activated by the char, catalyzing the growth of morel mycelium, and eventually yielding the honeycomb headed mushrooms cherished by chefs and foragers.
These “burn morels” are foraged in the spring and early summer, retracing the paths of the previous year’s fires and excavating areas with prime morel-patch potential. They tend to fare best at the fire’s fringes, areas with enough residual char to spark the growth process, but not so much to have turned the host trees to ash entirely. Even with this loose compass in mind, morels typically hide beneath brush or between tree roots, making them particularly tricky and rewarding for foragers to unearth.
Once they’ve made their way to you, these Morels will be dark in color, potentially still with small amounts of ash on their surface. Our favorite preparations are seared in brown butter, or stuffed with a creamy cow’s milk cheese and broiled until tender.
Oregon, United States