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Collecting, preparing and cooking morels

A black, cast-iron skillet with sauteed morels

Collecting, preparing and cooking morels

Collecting and preparing wild mushrooms

Mushrooms found on public land are for personal use only and cannot be sold. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has a curriculum to train and certify foragers who commercially harvest and sell wild mushrooms in Michigan.

  • Cut mushroom stems with a pocket knife to collect. 
  • Collect mushrooms in a mesh bag. 
  • Select only fresh, young mushrooms that show no wormholes, damage or decay.
  • Clean mushrooms with a brush or by washing and drying thoroughly. Open lengthwise to check for any bugs that may be inside. 
  • Refrigerate collected mushrooms in a paper bag. 
Two hands holding small morel mushrooms with pitted surfaces and cream color

Cooking and eating wild mushrooms

Morels have a distinct flavor unlike any other, and won't taste like supermarket mushrooms. The flavor is delicate and easily diminished by overseasoning.

The simplest preparation for morels is to melt a generous amount of butter or oil in a frying pan, put in enough morel halves to cover the bottom of the pan, and salt lightly. Sauté about five minutes on each side, and serve immediately.

Morels can be added to soups, pasta, pizza and other recipes that call for mushrooms.

To preserve this short-term, spring crop, morel mushrooms can be dried in a dehydrator or frozen. 


All wild mushrooms should be cooked thoroughly before eating. 

All mushrooms, including supermarket and wild varieties, contain substances which can provoke allergic reactions in some people. Be especially careful if you have any history of allergies to fruits, vegetables or grains, and introduce new mushroom varieties by taking a few small bites and waiting. Don't assume that because you can safely eat a particular species of mushroom, all members of your family or your friends can. Individual allergic reactions vary.

If you become ill after eating mushrooms, seek medical aid promptly. If you believe you have eaten a toxic mushroom, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.