Searching for morel mushrooms: a fun family activity to get outdoors in ND

Published: May. 27, 2023 at 9:50 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. - Searching for morel mushrooms, which are edible, in wooded areas or along the edges of rivers, lakes, and streams is almost like an adult Easter egg hunt.

The prime time to look for morel mushrooms in North Dakota is May through June depending on the whims of Mother Nature.

“Morels have that really typical honeycomb top. I’d encourage you to do some research before you go out there. The only other fungus they look similar to is a false morel, so make sure that they have a hollow stem all the way through. Those false morels do not,” said Cayla Bendel, North Dakota Game and Fish R3 coordinator.

Bendel has some tips on where to start looking for morel mushrooms if you’re new to this spring activity.

“Morels really like dead rotting wood so kind of look for wooded areas, so look for anywhere there was a recent disturbance, sometimes sandy soils, things like that,” said Bendel.

You don’t need to bring a lot of gear, however, wooded and riparian areas where morel mushrooms are found can have mosquitos and ticks at this time of year.

“Maybe tuck your pants into your socks and just be sure to check for ticks when you’re done. Otherwise, just a mesh bag that helps the mushrooms breathe. You’d be surprised if you use like a plastic or something, even just in 30 minutes to an hour of looking for mushrooms, the ones at the bottom of the bag can start to rot or get gross just in that quick time. So a mesh bag kind of lets them breathe,” said Bendel.

Just like any other hunting or recreational opportunities, you need to follow rules and regulations, including seeking permission on private land.

Morels are simple to cook, safe to eat when properly prepared and tasty.

“I think most people just kind of really like the flavor, so just sauté them in butter. They can be great on their own, or you can add them to a burger or a pizza or any kind of dishes, but really just sauté. They can be in pasta, but just make sure you cook them,” said Bendel.

This is a fun activity to get family and friends outdoors at this time of year.

“Not only do they taste really good, it can get addicting to just keep looking for them,” said Bendel.