Nutty and delicious: Idaho Morel mushrooms are a rare and expensive delicacy selling for $50 a pound

Morel mushrooms are most commonly found in burn scars from the year before.
Posted at 9:13 PM, Jun 23, 2024

BOISE — Morel mushrooms are selling for 50 dollars a pound. The rare mushrooms are not grown commercially and are generally found in the burn scars left behind by forest fires.

  • Always cook Morel mushrooms. Never eat them raw.
  • False Morels look similar and can be toxic.
  • Real Morels are hollow from tip to stem and the stem is tightly connected.
  • If stem has fuzzy cotton substance inside it's not a Morel.
  • When in doubt, ask an expert.

(Verbatim of story that aired is below)
It’s Morel mushroom season in the Idaho mountains. I’m senior reporter Roland Beres and I’ve never had one of these delicacies. They’re hard to find, they can be expensive but everyone says they’re delicious. So I got me some to give them a try.

At Mel Shade’s fruit stand, the rarest of items is actually a mushroom.

“How expensive are they? They’re... someone told me at Saturday market they’re getting fifty dollars a pound for them.” said Shade.

They’re so popular, Mel created a waiting list.

“I think there’s 20-25 people on the list. I’ll never get a mushroom.” said Shade.

So I called my friend Jonathan Oppenheimer at the Idaho conservation league.

He hunts morels because unlike pineapples and oranges and strawberries, you can’t grow morels.

“Morels are delicious they’re also fairly difficult to find. They can’t grow them commercially and not sure I mentioned they’re delicious But they are.” said Oppenheimer.

Morel’s often show up in the spring in areas that were burned the year before.

Oppenheimer has found large gatherings of them, but it’s rare, and you’re only allowed five gallons a day.

Jonathan gave me these that he dried. You just re-hydrate. Chop them up and sauté’ in butter and garlic.

Just remember they can’t be eaten raw.

“They do have some toxicity if they’re not cooked” said Oppenheimer.

So here I go, the first taste of a morel. It's a nice nutty taste that's mile. Unlike any other mushroom.

It’s not great enough to make me hike miles into the mountains, but I’ll definitely get on Mel shade’s waiting list.

There are false morels out there that are toxic. Some indications of a real morel are the top is securely attached to the stem and they are completely hollow. If you see some fuzzy cotton in the stem, they’re false. And if you’re not sure, don’t eat it until you check with someone who knows for sure.

In Boise, I'm senior reporter Roland Beres Idaho news six.