Morel mushrooms are unique in taste as well as appearance. They have a delicate flavor like no other and appear as a dry corn cob or sponge. To date attempts to cultivate them has not been successful due to their very specific habitat requirements. When one gets more than they can finish in one serving, do not let these precious morsels go to waste, you have a few options:
- Drying - this is the most common way to store mushrooms long term, however, the process of drying often leads to the loss of various aromatic compounds which means they end up not tasting as great in comparison to other storage methods.
- Refrigeration - although this will not make the morel last as long as drying, if you get it right you can get greater longevity out of your mushroom.
- Canning - you can use this for very long term storage and even selling say at a market stall or to a convenience store.
How to store morels in the refrigerator...
Clean the morel mushrooms. From the time when one is harvesting, it is advisable that they cut the morel mushroom leaving the 'root' part or dirt ball of the stem in the soil. This limits the amount of dirt collected with the mushrooms. In addition, one may use either a soft brush or just their hands to clean off any excess dirt.
Storing morel mushrooms in the refrigerator. There are a number of procedures that one may take in preparing morel mushrooms for storage. The first of those is to clean the mushrooms then wrap them in a damp towel or cloth and store them in the fridge. The second way is most common in Missouri. After the morel mushrooms have been cleaned, they are placed in half filled plastic containers with water. The containers are closed with a lid and refrigerated. Depending on the person, the end result for the morel mushrooms could be mushy but again for others it serves right. The third way consists of storing the morel mushrooms as though one was going to cook them. You take the cleaned morel mushrooms and soak them in salty water overnight placed in the fridge. Rinse them to remove the salty water and any dirt. Cut them into appropriate sizes and let them drip. Mix some eggs with some milk then dip the pieces of morel mushrooms into the mixture so that they are well coated. Drain the excess liquid and roll them in a bag of floor so that they are evenly coated. At this point you put them on a refrigerator shit ensuring that they do not touch each other. You can now put them away into the refrigerator. Some people prefer to have them in a deep freezer and when they are frozen solid, they are then transferred to the refrigerator or the freezer box.
Mushrooms can stay up to a week in the refrigerator before they are used for a meal.
How to can morels...
- Canning or jarring morels is useful as you can keep them long term without risking dehydration and spoilage. Essentially, canning involves boiling the mushrooms in an airtight container, killing the bacteria, allowing you to store the mushrooms for around 5 years without spoilage.
- Select and wash the mushrooms. Select only morels that are worst off, if you have beautiful fresh morels keep them in the fridge, they should last until you need them. Trim stems and discolored parts. Soak in cold water for 10 minutes to remove dirt. Wash in clean water.
- Cut up larger mushrooms. Leave small mushrooms whole; cut large ones so that they fit in the can better.
- Cook for 5 minutes. Cover with water in a saucepan and boil 5 minutes. This makes the mushrooms softer and allows any trapped air within the mushroom to escape reducing the spoilage potential.
- Fill the jars or cans. Fill the jars with hot mushrooms, leaving 2-inch headspace.
- Add salt and Vitamin C. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pint to the jar, if desired. For better color, add 1/8 teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder, or a 500-milligram tablet of vitamin C. This is added to lower the pH (making it more acidic) to kill any bacteria, reducing spoilage and to add taste to the finished product.
- Alternatively you can avoid adding vitamin C, however, you will need to perform further sterilization techniques such as pressure cooking.
- Top with hot water. Leave at least 1 inch of headspace.
- Seal the jar or can. At this point, you can further boil the jars to ensure sterility but if you have followed the procedure above you should be fine. Store the cans in a dark temperature controlled environment for up to 5 years.