Tis the season for mushroom hunting in Montana. Every spring people from all walks of life scour the forest and mountainsides for hidden little yummy treats.

Morel Mushrooms are a fungus that typically grows on the forest floor. It is a delicacy for many chefs all over the world. Both for its rich flavor and honeycomb texture. Not to mention it is just fun to get outside and find.

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Just make sure to prepare your mushrooms properly or face possible illness

Montana Health officials are urging that morel hunters use caution when consuming the mushrooms. Just last year a GI illness outbreak occurred in Montana. The gastrointestinal issues were caused by consuming morels. 51 people got sick after eating undercooked morels. Causing three hospitalizations and even two deaths.

State Public Health officials want to share some tips:

  • Always make sure you have a true morel. Other mushrooms could be dangerous
  • Pick morels that are dry and firm
  • Store them in the fridge
  • Cook Thoroughly!!!!!
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According to the Montana DPHHS

Outbreaks and illness linked to consumption of morels seem to occur infrequently, but may occur more often than public health professionals or medical providers currently realize because symptoms may not be severe enough to cause individuals to seek care or the illness may not be known to be associated with morel consumption. The 2023 Montana outbreak is not the first GI outbreak linked to the consumption of morels, either prepared raw or cooked to varying degrees.

With wet Spring weather in the forecast, the hunt for the elusive morel will likely continue. Not stopping me from tossing some in my spaghetti sauce. Yum!

Best Groups for Montana Foraging and Mushroom Hunting

If you love gathering fresh and wild edibles, these are the best online resources to learn the basics or share your expertise. Foraging is a labor of love for special food, and it requires important knowledge along with lots of patience. Check these out!

Gallery Credit: mwolfe