Cherokee Nation citizen shares tips for morel mushrooms

BY JOSH FOURKILLER
Multimedia Specialist
04/02/2020 08:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Brent Girdner
STILWELL – Every spring, Cherokee Nation citizen Brent Girdner takes to the woods in search of his favorite wild traditional food, morel mushrooms.

“I started hunting mushrooms with my dad, and he kind of learned from friends who taught him their ways and how they hunted them,” Girdner said. “He took it and we have developed our own style I guess you could say.”

Girdner has hunting spots that produce a bounty of mushrooms year after year, and has learned what to look for when scouting new areas.

“Morels are a spring mushroom,” he said. “We do also hunt fall mushrooms but they’re a little different. Most of your fall mushrooms do grow on trees or logs. These morels grow directly on the ground. We’ve found them in rocky soil, and we’ve found them in the best soil we’ve got. It just kind of varies. We look for sycamore trees and cedar trees, a mix of them, and in creek banks. That’s where we find the majority of them, but really, they can pop up anywhere.”

There are many different ways to clean and cook morel’s. Girdner said his favorite is fried.

“Our go to way of preparing a mushroom is, we cut them in half and soak them overnight in salt water and get all the bugs and stuff out of them,” he said. “Throw them in some egg, and throw them in some flour and just fry them up.”

Girdner said he and his father enjoy getting out outdoors and foraging for all of the wild edibles that come along with the spring season.

“We find a bunch, and usually what we do is we give them to elderly people that can’t get out really and hunt them like they used to,” he said. “My dad, every once in a while, will sell a gallon bag to somebody, but usually he just gives them to the elderly people. He just likes giving back to the Cherokee people that taught him.”

About the Author
Multimedia Specialist Josh Fourkiller currently lives in Tahlequah, Oklahoma but calls Stilwell his hometown. He began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in February of 2020. Born and raised in Oklahoma, Josh always knew he wanted to work for the Cherokee p ...
josh-fourkiller@cherokee.org • 918-207-3969
Multimedia Specialist Josh Fourkiller currently lives in Tahlequah, Oklahoma but calls Stilwell his hometown. He began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in February of 2020. Born and raised in Oklahoma, Josh always knew he wanted to work for the Cherokee p ...

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