Are morels a relatively safe bet for a novice mushroom gatherer? Not exactly, says JMF. There are several varieties of morels, and most are safe, but a few can cause gastrointestinal problems, and some are downright unsafe. There are also “false” morels, a group of mushrooms that resemble morels but are mostly poisonous. Quine suggests that morels are hollow inside, whereas false morels never are. However, even if accurate, this handy rule of thumb doesn’t exclude the unsafe varieties of true morels.

If you decide to risk it, rcallner notes that morels are “buggy condos”—full of nooks and crannies that make perfect homes for gross bugs. She immerses morels in water for at least an hour to “encourage the residents to vacate” before drying, slicing, and cooking the mushrooms.

Board Links: gathering morels?

See more articles