Morel mushrooms have wrinkly, crinkly caps that can harbor a lot of dirt, as well as little forest critters (by which we mean worms and bugs).
Therefore, Chowhound monavano recommends soaking morels in salt water for 5 to 10 minutes to kill anything hiding inside. This will also loosen up any dirt.
Swish them around and let any debris sink to the bottom of the bowl, then remove them to clean kitchen towels or paper towels to drain.
Contrary to common belief, it’s OK to soak mushrooms for a brief period:
You should, however, make sure they’re thoroughly dry before cooking them so you get a nice crisp sear on the outside. And don’t wash them until you’re ready to cook them, or they won’t last as long.
Morels are particularly great sauteed and added to cream sauce, simply cooked in butter to serve on toast points (fresh herbs are always a welcome addition), or mixed into scrambled eggs. You can roast them too.
If you can’t come by fresh morels, dried is the next best thing:
Slo Food Group Dried Morel Mushrooms, $13.99+ on Etsy
Header image by Chowhound