It’s been a week full of emails, texts, and phone calls from my southernmost shrooming pals, the morels are definitely up and going in the far southern neighborhoods.
The daily storms, and unseasonably warm temps are raising my hopes, and had me traipsing around all my “early” mushroom spots all last week - only to discover no true morels; but plenty of gyromitras- or false morels.
Just a not about these, while there are scads of folks who will tell you that these are fine to eat; and in fact I’ve eaten them with no difficulty in the past, gyromitras are now on my DO NOT EAT list, and here’s why:
All of the gyromitra’s ( there are several varieties ) contain the toxin Gyromitrin, AKA: monomethylhydrazine. This may sound a tad outlandish, but here’s the catch; monomethylhydrazine is a key component of rocket fuel. Eating mushrooms containing hydrazines raw has caused many documented fatalities (mostly in Europe.) Cooking and/or drying can remove the volatile Gyromitrin poison, hence people have eaten these mushrooms for years with no ill effects. BUT… cooking gyromitras can release enough toxin into the air that simply savoring the aroma as they cook can lead to severe poisoning or even death.
Also noteworthy is that for many people the toxicity to the liver from this species is cumulative. I decided that rather than hoping each meal wasn’t that one that would tip my already damaged liver over the edge, it was best to just stop eating the darn things.
I’m fixing to hit the woods again this morning and am feeling confident (perhaps overly so) that I’ll return with morels in hand! Happy Mushrooming friends - let the season begin!