Known as Morel Mushrooms or Morchella Esculenta scientifically . They are locally called ‘guchi’ in the Himalayan region. Moreover, these are prized for their spongy, honeycomb texture and unique flavour. Morel Mushrooms or Guchi mushrooms are a rare species. Guchi mushrooms cannot be cultivated commercially and instead they grow wild only in some regions like the Kangara Valley, Jammu and Kashmir, Manali and other parts of Himachal Pradesh after the snowfall period.
Collection and Dehydrating
The villagers start the laborious process of collecting these elusive mushrooms sometime around March which continues till May-end. Guchchi mushrooms usually grow in clusters on logs of decaying wood or decaying leaves and even in humus soil. They may or not grow in the same spot the next season and they are notoriously unpredictable. They may show up anywhere. The villagers look for them with a sharp sight and close attention to the ground and yet there’s always a possibility that they may miss them. This makes it a painful process to source them and sometimes farmers may only return with a few grams of guchchi mushrooms.
The mushrooms are strewn into a garland and hung over fire to dry. These mushrooms are very fragile. A lot of effort is required to retain their pleated honeycomb texture. It can take months before enough is collected, dried and available for sale in the market. The locals never really keep this exquisite ingredient for their own use and everything that is collected is often sold to help them earn their livelihood.
Guchchi mushrooms need to be soaked in hot water for at least an hour to moisten them and to remove all the dirt and sand particles that may cling on to the porous skin of the mushroom.
- The flavour of Morel Mushrooms can be described as intensely smoky and musky with deep earthy notes.
- Soak in hot water for approximately 60 minutes before use.
- They possess powerful antibacterial benefits and are high in Beta-D-Glucans and Polysaccharides. Hence, boost our immune system.
- Morels contain lots of antioxidants that are good in protecting your body from free radicals. These free radicals are often the cause of heart diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Type 1, and Type 2 Diabetes.
- the morel is a wonderful source of Vitamin D.
- Morels are unique among the wild edible mushrooms which recognised for their rich mineral content. 100 grams of raw morels carry 69%, 152%, 26%, and 18% of copper, iron, manganese, and zinc levels respectively.