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Morel mushrooms are popping!

Morel madness has begun! The elusive jewel of the spring forest gets you outside in the fresh air and can be a healthy treat. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams hunts for morel mushrooms and shares an easy and tasty recipe to try if you're lucky enough to find some.

Morel mushrooms
Morel mushrooms from a SE Minnesota forest
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ROCHESTER — May in Minnesota means morel mushrooms. The fungi appear in spring in wooded areas on south-facing slopes, often near dead elm, oak, aspen and sometimes apple trees. But I've also found morels in places that make no sense, such as on a rocky path or in the middle of my vegetable garden.

Morel mushrooms can be a healthy treat. An article published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition notes that morels are high in anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

If you hunt morels make sure you know exactly what you're doing or consult an expert (which I'm not) before you eat anything. Some mushrooms are poisonous and can make you dangerously ill.

The recipe below is super simple, easy and delicious. It's from my friend Terry. You'll notice that there are no measured amounts of anything. That's because how much of each ingredient you need depends on how many mushrooms you find. You'll have to judge a bit.

You'll also note that the recipe calls for a lot of butter. I figure, once a year, switching out olive oil for butter won't hurt. (Wink! Wink!)

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Terry's best-ever morel mushroom recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Morel mushrooms, gently soaked in water and cut in half length-wise
  • Eggs, beaten
  • Saltine crackers, finely crushed. Use a food processor or put them in a plastic bag and roll over them with a rolling pin
  • Butter, I use one stick per medium-sized frying pan
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Cut morels and very gently place them in a bowl of cold water to clean. Drain them on a paper towel. While the mushrooms are draining, prepare the assembly line of ingredients: beaten eggs in a bowl, finely crushed crackers in a bowl and a plate. To prepare the mushrooms, take a piece, coat it with the egg, dredge with crushed crackers and put on plate. Repeat the same steps for the remaining pieces of morels. Next, on medium heat, melt butter in a frying pan (I use cast iron or nonstick). Gently place morels in the frying pan (don't crowd) and sauté each side until golden brown. If the butter gets too hot, turn the heat down. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! The mushrooms will be hot inside, so be careful!

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Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple,   Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at  vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

MORE HEALTH FUSION:
Ticks are out in full force, waiting for you to walk by so they can hitch a ride and take a bite. In this Health Fusion column, Viv Williams shares how two lovely walks in the woods turned into several days of tick terror. And she gives tips on how to avoid ticks and what to do when one is attached to you.

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