January 31, 2013

The morel is one of the most treasured fungal finds.  Difficult to grow commercially and prized for its choice flavor, the morel is prized by gourmet cooks.

True morels are of the genus Morchella.  Members of this genus vary drastically in their morphology throughout their lifetime, and mycologists disagree just how many distinct species are in this group.

The morel illustrated here is  Morchella esculenta, the “yellow morel” or “common morel” due to its color and worldwide distribution.

Morels have a nutty flavor when cooked.  They should never be eaten raw because of small amounts of hydrazine toxins; these are removed by cooking.

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