Morel mushroom: edible or not
Morel is a mushroom that inexperienced mushroom pickers often mistake for toadstool, depriving themselves of the opportunity to enjoy a real delicacy. Therefore, the article will consider a detailed description of the appearance of the fungus, its benefits and possible harm, how to learn to distinguish morels from similar externally inedible mushrooms.
Morels - mushrooms that belong to the genus of morels and the Morshell family, are one of the largest representatives of this family. Height varies from 6 to 20 cm, in weight one specimen can reach 500 g. It has a fleshy elongated egg-shaped hat, which is strongly wrinkled and consists of recesses.
Morel is so popular in the United States that in 1974 the state of Minnesota declared it an official mushroom approved by law.
Its height usually does not exceed 7 cm and a diameter of 8 cm. Color can be varied: from yellow to gray. A distinctive feature of old copies from young ones is the dark color of the hat. The legs are cylindrical in shape and tightly connected to the caps. Length - from 3 to 9 cm, thickness - from 1.5 to 3 cm.
Young specimens have a white color legs, old differ cream and yellowish tint. When visually inspecting the fungus, it looks proportional: the size of the cap and legs is the same. The incision has a light cream color. The flesh, which is brittle, easily crumbles upon mechanical impact.
There are some of the most common edible species of morels:
Collection and Distribution Season
In the wild, mushrooms are common in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia, prefer coniferous and deciduous forests, but can also grow in gardens and parkland. The maximum yield is collected in a temperate climate, on light grassy areas, light calcareous soils.
The fruiting period falls in the spring. Where the climate is milder and warmer, you can start harvesting in March, in cool regions mushrooms grow later - from April to May. If the autumn is warm, then the crop can be re-harvested from October to November.
Morels are quite edible and quite tasty, they grow alone, so it is usually not possible for mushroom pickers to collect large crops. From a scientific point of view, morel is a conditionally edible mushroom, which is included in category 3, since it contains a small amount of hydrosine toxic to the human body. Eat these mushrooms only after they undergo heat treatment for 10 minutes.
Important! In the process of drying, toxic hydrosine disappears, so in a dried state morels are quite safe for eating.
False doubles of morels are lines, in appearance they are very similar, so inexperienced mushroom pickers can easily be confused and instead of an edible crop to collect deadly. The lines contain a potent toxic substance - gyromitrin, which, when ingested in large quantities, leads to death.
If you eat a small amount of cooked lines, the consequences may not be so frightening, but the toxic effect on the body will manifest itself in the form of severe poisoning, damage to the central nervous system, liver, and gastrointestinal tract.
The lines relate to marsupials from the family of Discins. The appearance of the hat stitch resembles the surface of a walnut, it is presented in the form of an uneven circle, can reach a diameter of 2 to 10 cm. The edges of the lower part are tightly connected to the leg.Color can be varied: from yellow-brown to red-brown, depending on the area of growth.
The leg is irregular in shape, short - up to 3 cm in height and up to 2 cm in diameter, wrinkled, with many grooves, has a slight thickening at the base. Inside the leg is hollow, the flesh is yellow-pink. The line is common in coniferous forests, prefers sunny areas, grows on plant debris.
Did you know? Morels are very expensive since they are not grown artificially, but harvested only in the wild. One kg of dried mushrooms can be purchased on average for $ 100.
In order not to confuse the edible and dangerous mushroom, it is necessary to consider the main differences between them:
- the hat of an edible specimen usually has the shape of a cone, and the line is rounded;
- morels are completely visible on the surface of the soil, and the leg of the stitches is partially or completely immersed in the substrate, it is practically not visible on the surface;
- the edible has a void inside the cap, and the inedible is completely filled with winding pulp;
- the edible mushroom has practically no mushroom smell, while the inedible mushroom has a pronounced smell.
Benefit and possible harm
All types of morels are a useful product, as they contain vitamins A, PP, as well as phosphorus and calcium in large quantities.
- The use of mushrooms in food allows you to:
- strengthen the eye muscles, which makes it possible to correct senile hyperopia;
- prevent the lens clouding by providing cataract prophylaxis;
- stimulate appetite and the production of gastric juice;
- have an analgesic effect with rheumatism and radiculitis (in the manufacture of alcohol tinctures based on the fungus);
- improve digestion, promote the absorption of nutrients;
- have antimicrobial and antiviral effects on the body;
- increase the overall resistance of the body.
Despite the benefits of the fungus, the harm from consumption is also present if you eat it for some health problems.
- Contraindications to the use of food and the use of folk remedies based on morel are:
- problems with the heart and blood vessels;
- pregnancy and lactation;
- individual intolerance.
Important! It is worth remembering that morel, like any other mushrooms, should not be given to children under 12 years old.
Thus, morels are healthy and tasty mushrooms if the recommendations for use are followed. In order to protect yourself from possible severe poisoning or death when eating twins, you need to be able to distinguish them and responsibly approach the procedure for collecting mushrooms, bypassing suspicious areas.