What’s the best way to clean fresh morels?

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Generally we feel fresh morel mushrooms don’t need to be washed, but here are the recommended cleaning methods if you would like to clean yours.

What We Recommend:
Give your morels a quick dunk in cool water and then let them drain in a colander or spin them in a salad spinner. For best shelf life, don’t wash your morels until just before you’re ready to cook them or dry them for long term storage (how to dry mushrooms).

The Traditional Method:
Historically chefs have believed that washing morels (and all fresh wild mushrooms) will ruin their flavor because the mushrooms will absorb large amounts of water. The method they’ve used is to slowly clean the mushrooms with a mushroom brush or un-used paint brush.

There are still some who insist that this is the proper method. However, there is scientific evidence that mushrooms do not absorb significant water during a brief rinse or lose much flavor (if any).*

Concerned About Bugs?
It’s true that because morels are a wild-foraged mushroom and their centers are hollow, it is possible for a bug or two to hide inside. Our mushrooms tend to arrive from the foragers extremely clean, so bugs are generally not a problem.

However, if you are concerned, here’s a good pre-washing method to make absolutely sure your morels are bug-free:

1. Preheat your oven 140 degrees.
2. Place the morels on an oven-safe plate or cookie sheet.
3. Bake them in the oven for 10 minutes.
4. Give the mushrooms a quick rinse once they’re removed from the oven.
5. Cook your morels as called for by your recipe.

More Morel Mushroom Information:
How to Store & Preserve Fresh Mushrooms
Chef Created Morel Recipes
Reader Submitted Morel Recipe Collection

* McGee, “On Food & Cooking”, Rev. Ed. pg 346

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