Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Look what's growing in my yard!

In Hawaii, where my mom was from, there's this idea of having a calabash aunt. These are adults you're very close to as a child, but who aren't blood relatives. Despite growing up in the Midwest, I happened to have a calabash aunt, who, as far as I knew, never set foot on the islands.
Aunt Mag lived about 10 minutes away from us and shared a house with her brother, neither of whom ever married. He was a soybean farmer, and she did everything else. My parents met them when my father, a plant scientist, needed a soybean farmer to help him with some experiment of his.
Aunt Mag took me off my parents' hands when I was undoubtedly driving them crazy. We went to garage sales in the summer, I helped her wrap Christmas presents and make sugar cookies in the winter, and every spring, we would go for walks in a forest preserve near her house looking for morel mushrooms.
I think in decades of looking, she found one.
The other day, I was walking down the sidewalk, and I noticed something growing under my dogwood.

I know a little something about morels, having been on a hunt with a mycologist, where we found some.

Because I'm a cautious person, I'm consulting with a mushroom expert ... but I'm nearly positive I have morels! Aunt Mag would fall over if she could see these little guys growing in our front yard.


Stacy said...

Yum! When I was small, these were the only mushrooms I'd eat; my parents would hunt exclusively for morels because they're so distinctive.

Here's hoping they are morels (they sure look like it to me)... if so, they're delightful floured and pan-fried.

LaurieM said...

I had mushrooms growing in my back yard that my mother told me were morels. She said, "Either that, or they're a poisonous look alike." Then she went on to encourage me to try them because morels are very tasty! I don't know what she was thinking, but I invited her to try them for herself.

She didn't.

else said...

oh yea, definitely morels - this comes from a mycologist! in your own yard, fantastic!
enjoy (but cook them well) !
they can be confused with Verpa and Gyromitra. the former has a small head, like a thimble on a stem, the latter is much more brain-like and in general browner; Gyromitra contains rocket fuel (the official name escapes me) which is not very good for you.

meg said...

Thanks, Else! I sent pictures around to a bunch of people and based on the response, my husband is picking up some steaks and I'm going to saute them with butter and salt and pepper. Found a half dozen more growing elsewhere in the yard, too.

the fiddlin' fool said...

And just to update everyone, we ate them for dinner tonight with steak, and we're all doing fine! No poisonings whatsoever.

Seriously, though... delicious. They tasted very much like really good chicken broth.

Anonymous said...

Chicken broth, funny. I heard in places these sell for around $60 a pound! Imagine how much sock yarn that'd buy?