BY LADAWN EDWARDS
To clean: Slice in half and put in cold saltwater for five minutes. Rinse and drain on towels. Bugs don’t hurt the morels, but if you see anything, use a paring knife to remove it. Cut off any rusty- or moldy-looking spots.
Best way to prepare morel mushrooms: Shake in a paper bag with salt, pepper, and a few tablespoons of flour. Sauté the morels in butter until light brown. “They’re so much better in real butter that I don’t mind the cholesterol,” Mimi said. “I figure I can always diet after the season.”
To stretch them, because you didn’t find very many or you just have a lot of morel-lovers to feed: dip them in beaten egg first, then dredge them in Ritz cracker crumbs, not saltine crumbs. Fry in butter over medium heat.
To refrigerate: Empty out a crisper tray. Cut a brown paper bag to fit the bottom and lay the morels on a damp paper towel with another damp towel on top. Morels will keep up to five days if they stay damp, but not wet.
To freeze: Slice in half. Blanch in boiling water for 30-60 seconds, then plunge into ice water. Put on paper towels to dry. Lay out on cookie sheet lined with wax paper and freeze for one hour. Then transfer to an airtight container where they will keep in the freezer until Christmas.
To read the full article about Mimi Hunter and her annual search for morels in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, visit Morel Hunter.