If you’re looking for the health benefits of morel mushrooms, you’ve come to the right place.
Morel mushrooms are an edible fungus that have been enjoyed for their delicious flavor and health benefits for centuries. They have a unique nutty and earthy flavor and are a favorite among mushroom enthusiasts.
Morels are packed with nutrition and offer a variety of health benefits.
These edible mushrooms can be found in wooded areas throughout North America, especially in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest.
They tend to fruit in the springtime and may be found in damp, shady areas near dying elms and other hardwood trees. They may also be found in fields or meadows near dead or dying trees, often near the roots.
Morel mushrooms are considered a delicacy. They can be difficult to find, so they are highly sought after.
You can purchase morel mushrooms in some grocery stores and specialty stores, but many people like to find them in the wild.
You can also buy dried morel mushrooms and rehydrate them through cooking. This may be the easiest way to get your hands on these specific mushrooms.
Identifying Morel Mushrooms
If you’re searching for morel mushrooms in the wild, you can use these steps to properly identify true morels.
Morels are one of the easiest mushrooms to identify, because of their very unique shape and texture.
Fresh morel season can start in early April, depending on the weather, and runs until mid-May in some places.
Warm nights and wet ground are hints that the mushrooms might crop up overnight.
Look for a spongy, honeycomb-like cap.
A morel mushroom is a sponge mushroom that has a conical or elongated shape, with a spongy, honeycomb-like cap. The cap should be a tan, brown, or gray color.
Check that the cap is attached to a stem.
Morels have a stem that is attached to the cap and runs down the center of the mushroom. It should be the same color as the cap.
Examine the surface of the cap.
The surface of the cap should be pitted or ridged with a honeycomb texture. The overall body of the mushroom is pointed.
Feel the mushroom for a solid texture.
Morels are firm to the touch. They have what’s considered a meaty texture that isn’t chewy or squishy, but somewhere in between.
Slice the mushroom in half.
Morels should be hollow on the inside. That means a hollow stem all the way to the mushroom cap.
Be careful, because they aren’t the only mushrooms that are hollow on the inside (more on this below). Just slice the mushroom in half from top to bottom to verify that it is hollow all the way through.
Important: False morel mushrooms (Gyromitra esculenta, Verpa bohemica, and Helvella crispa) look similar to morels and are poisonous mushrooms that can cause serious illness or even death if consumed. They should never be eaten.
False morel species do not have hole-like pits like true morels.
False morels may be ridged, wrinkled, waved, or even sort of smooth. Both false and true morels are hollow inside so the outside appearance is your only indication. All wild mushrooms should be cleaned and well-cooked before consumption.
If you’re worried about correctly identifying wild real morels, the store bought option still has the same nutty flavor of the morel mushroom.
Health Benefits of Morel Mushrooms
There are so many morel mushroom benefits! Edible mushrooms in general are great for our overall health in a lot of different ways.
High in protein
The first benefit of morel mushrooms is their high protein content.
One cup of morels provides 7 grams of protein, which is comparable to the protein content of lean meats. T
his makes them a good source of protein from plants, making them ideal plant-based foods for vegetarians and vegans.
High in minerals and vitamins
Morels are also a great source of minerals and vitamins.
They are known for their high levels of vitamin D, higher than any other edible mushroom.
Less than a cup of raw morel mushrooms contains 34% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for bone health, cardiovascular health, immune function, and more.
Morels are also high in iron, phosphorus, and high amounts of potassium.
They also contain a significant amount of vitamins A, C, and B-12. Iron plays a key role in the production of hemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen to the cells.
Phosphorus helps form strong bones and teeth and potassium helps regulate blood pressure. Vitamins A, C, and B-12 are essential for healthy skin, hair, and nails, as well as for maintaining a healthy immune system.
High in dietary fiber
Morels are also a good source of fiber, which is important for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Fiber helps to regulate digestion and helps to keep you feeling full for longer periods of time.
Additionally, fiber helps to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.
High in antioxidants
Morels also contain lots of antioxidants, which help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Antioxidants work to reduce oxidative stress in the body, which can lead to cellular damage and premature aging.
Anti-Oxidative and Anti-inflammatory
Finally, morels are also rich in polysaccharides, which are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties.
This can help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can help to alleviate joint pain and stiffness.
Anti-inflammatory foods are also great for heart health, and to help prevent a heart attack as well as prevention of liver disease.
Polysaccharides can also help to boost the immune system, which can help to protect the body from illnesses and infections.
Side Effects of Morel Mushrooms
Morel mushrooms are generally safe to eat, but they can cause digestive upset in some people.
Just like anything else, some people may be allergic to morel mushrooms. Watch out for symptoms of allergic reactions like itching, hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing.
Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are possible complications from eating too many morel mushrooms. Enjoy these mushrooms in moderation.
Uses for Morel Mushrooms
Morel mushrooms are a delicious and nutritious addition to any diet.
They are packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and polysaccharides, all of which can provide a range of health benefits.
If you’re looking for an easy and delicious way to get more nutrition into your diet, morel mushrooms are an excellent choice.
Morel mushrooms can be used for any of the same dishes you would use other types of mushrooms for.
They are delicious tossed in with sauteed veggies and perfect marinated and served over grilled meats and pasta dishes.
These add a delicious flavor to mushroom soup and can also be used for pizza toppings, just like other types of mushrooms.
If you’re switching to a plant-based diet, mushrooms like morels can be a huge help, because they are perfect meat replacements.
Not only is the protein content helpful, but the texture of mushrooms is also great for replacing meats.
You can cook them just like meat for things like Philly “steak” sandwiches or dice them up for sloppy joes.
Mushrooms of all kinds are very helpful for replacing meat, even if it’s just occasionally.
Eating a variety of different mushrooms offers a variety of health benefits, so much sure to switch it up for the best results!
Before you go, here are more posts you’ll enjoy: