Their scientific name is Morchella esculenta, but to mushroom fans in Appalachia they’re dry land fish (yes, they do taste fishy when fried up) or molly moochers. Elsewhere in North America the hard-to-find morel mushroom is also known as a yellow morel, common morel, sponge mushroom, honeycomb morel, or haystack. Many European languages share similar names for our English morel, such as the Bulgarian morchella, the Danish morkel, the French motile and the German morchel. As morels are choice edibles, they are sought out by mushroom foragers throughout the world.
Shroom hunters claim you can sometimes actually hear the molly moochers grow as they push their way through dried leaves on still chilly ground in early spring.
Morel mushroom hunting attracts novices as well as expert searchers. The best time for morels is May but with more than 100 different types of mushroom, mushroom hunting is a summer-long activity.
The scarcity of molly moochers has made the “patches” of the mushrooms to be a highly guarded secret in many vicinities. Patches may be found under tulip poplars, white and green ash, hickory, elm, striped maple, sycamore, in abandoned apple orchards, and, most significantly, in burned areas after a fire. In some parts of Europe, laws were passed to prevent the burning of forests that had previously been set to promote morel growth the following year. The lack of consistency in morel fruiting has been a deterrent to commercial cultivation.
Molly moochers contain more protein than most vegetables, are rich in vitamins E, D, K and the B group, and their fiber is conducive to proper intestinal function.
Get out and look around for some of the best dining pleasure to be had anywhere!