It takes eagle eyes and sturdy legs to bring home morels. While your hiking in the forest, keep a special eye out underneath poplar and old apple trees—known morel habitat. Also know that where there’s one morel, there are probably more. If you spot one, stop, crouch down near ground level and scan the horizon 20 feet out in all directions. Getting down near the ground helps you spot them against the backdrop of a lighter colored sky.
Fungi grow in the woods, but that doesn’t make them dirty, and washing or soaking mushrooms is a major culinary no-no. Instead, brush off any excess dirt with your hands, or at most a damp paper towel. Harvesting with a knife ensures a clean cut through the stem above the ground, leaving the dirt in the woods where it belongs.
It’s rare that you’ll find more morels than you can eat in one meal, but if you hit the jackpot, simply store morels in the fridge wrapped in a damp paper towel. They’ll last for up to one week. You can also dry them in a food dehydrator or laid out on cookie sheets in a very low oven and use them later in soups or sauces—just soak them in water first to reconstitute them.