In Quest for Local Mushrooms.

Mushrooms are one of the strangest and most delicious foods to enter our kitchens. They’re neither animal nor vegetable, they can be hard to find yet they sprout everywhere, they can be poisonous or curative. Their spores can even survive in outer space. But the meat of the matter is that mushrooms are unique, delicious and good for you.

As far as edible varieties, one of the most sought-after foraged mushrooms of the fungi world is the morel. Can they be found in Utah? From the Wild About Utah site, and according to Michael Piep of Intermountain Herbarium, the answer is YES.

FUNgi Facts

Utah Mushrooms
Edible Mushrooms are a great source of Vitamin D (not sure about the psychedelic ones).

“In the recent film, Fantastic Fungi, Paul Stamets, Michael Pollan and other experts say that mushrooms can save the world, or at least parts of it. According to the mycologists quoted in the film, mushrooms hold answers to disease, pollution, anxiety, depression and global warming. There they are, right underfoot.”

Brown or tan gills, clean stem? Before ingesting any foraged mushroom, make sure you know what you have, here’s a helpful guide:


“Where does one find morels in Utah?”

“From under an old apple tree in Taylorsville to pine woodlands high in the canyons. In general, the white/yellow and half-free types tend to occur along streams and rivers most often on sand bars and tend to prefer areas with mature cottonwood trees nearby. Black morels are found at higher elevations typically on north or north-east facing slopes and most frequently under Lodgepole pine, but may be found with other conifer species and even quaking aspen. Gray morels don’t seem to be as choosy and can be found in both habitat types.”—Michael Piep of Utah State, Intermountain Herbarium

If you do forage, be sure to follow the ethical and protective environmental practices, it’s important to harvest modestly and follow the guidelines of “leave no trace.” While there are morel mushroom imposters, a true morel has two distinctive attributes: a hollow stem and is symmetrical when sliced in half. Apparently, skillet-fried and browned morels give off an earthy roasted peanut aroma and are generally eaten on their own.

Before ingesting any foraged mushroom, make sure you know what you have, here’s a helpful article:

Stay healthy, enjoy life, and go get some mushrooms.



Jen Hill
Jen Hill
Former Salt Lake Magazine Associate Editor Jen Hill is a SLC transplant from Bloomington, Ind. As a blogger and feature writer, Jen follows the pulse of the community with interests in urban agriculture, business, fitness & beauty and anything that allows her to get out of the office and into the mountains.

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