Morels mushrooms (Morchella esculenta) are wild mushrooms appear in late spring, in orchards and woods, under hedgerows or on open wasteland. In the United States, they are found in the Midwest Northern states, such as Michigan and Wisconsin. They are available for a short time in the spring- and grow naturally in the wild. The mushrooms, about 1-3 inches across, have a distinctive appearance. The head is oval to conical, yellowish-brown in color in color, and deep ridges which give a honeycomb-like appearance. The stem is about 1 inch thick, scurfy white and hollow. The flavor of morels is very earthy, with nutty overtones. The texture is a bit spongy. They have a very distinct taste and texture. They are very savory and umami.
Morels are highly prized for their rich, earthy flavor, and also because their caps are hollow, which allows them to be stuffed. Dried morels are very flavorful, and they're an excellent substitute for fresh in sauces and stews. Dried morels are more readily available usually since they are not as perishable. One pound fresh morels = 2 - 3 ounces dried. They should be reconstituted in hot water or stock before cooking. The liquid or “tea” from reconstituting should also be used, as it gives great depth to dishes.