Thursday, 17 September 2009

Giant Puffball Mushrooms


Look what Mr. Ferdzy found in the lawn! No, it's not a zombie brain. It's a giant puffball! As usual with pretty much everything in the garden, the deer found it first and took a nibble but for once they left enough for us. I hustled it into the kitchen, licking my chops. There are very few wild mushrooms I feel confident enough about absolutely accurate identification to eat, but this is one of them. They're big and roundish, they're smooth although they may have "craters" (and the top may split a bit), and when you cut them in half they are solid white throughout. If it isn't solid white, it is either something else, or past the period in which you would wish to eat it. On the other hand, there just isn't anything else out there that fits this description.

The skin, though smooth, is a bit leathery and should be peeled off, along with any discoloured or damaged spots. Check for bugs; as with most good-tasting plants you aren't the only one who wants to eat it. Then slice the mushrooms about a centimetre (half an inch) thick and fry them. You can dip them in batter first, or not. Beaten egg and breadcrumbs are a popular option. They are quite mild, although with a most definite subtle and lingering mushroom flavour, so it is best not to overwhelm them with too many other strong flavours. Still, with their solid white flesh and gentle flavour they are very versatile and can be used in most dishes where you would use button mushrooms. Once sliced and fried, they have a texture not unlike that of tofu.


I dipped mine in a batter of egg and rice flour then pan-fried the slices in a little oil. Delicious. At least, I thought so. Mr. Ferdzy was underwhelmed; he thought they were dull. However, we found another two after this one. One of them went to a pot-luck, where it was simply fried in butter and subsequently it disappeared quite quickly.




Puffball Mushroom on Foodista

15 comments:

Kevin Kossowan said...

Really? Well done! I remember many of these some years near the acreage where I grew up. They're fun to explode when they're mature and full of dark spore dust! I've never eaten one. Will have to give it a go.

Meaford said...

Nothing nicer than an open fire on the beach-- sliced puffball popped in a heavy frypan with lots of butter,salt & pepper,and a trout minutes out of the water !Heaven! JB

Ferdzy said...

Ha, Kevin, I'm surprised you didn't know them to eat. I would think they would be right up your alley.

JB, Meaford, eh? You're going to have to invite me to your next beach cook-out!

Anon said...

Ferdzy, can you give me a rough geographical area where you live? I am not far from Meaford and have been looking for puffball in a kn own location since late August. No luck. I suspect our September was too dry & warm this year. But, if you found one in this locality, I will have another look. Thanks.

Ferdzy said...

Anon, I'm right on the outskirts of town near County Road 7. Mushrooms are like that... they are not particularly co-operative. Still, we had 4! We ate 3 and left the other one to do its thing.

Diane said...

I as well was so hoping to find a puffball mushroom this fall
It is several years since we had a home in the country, and had puffballs.

I think they are absolutely heavenly sliced and fried with butter.

Yes, I wish it could be posted somewhere,
Puffballs available
Someone told me they where at the farmers market in Barrie, where I live. But, twice I went looking for them but not a one to be found
I looked on line as well, but alas, it was not to be

Almost makes me think of writing a poem. Ode to a puffball. But, I, am not a poet. Like to read poetry though.

Thanks Ferdzy for the reply.

I am going to keep a watch on your neat blog.

Ferdzy said...

Glad you found the post, Diane. And maybe next year you will find a puffball...

I didn't realize there was such a hot market for them. I will have to keep a better watch for them next year!

Jill said...

I work at Duffrin and Steels in Toronto. My walk in the local forest park rewarded me with a perfect Puff Ball. Ready to eat. Almost the size of a soccer ball. Who needs the country. Many of our local parks have hidden jems!

marvstoltz said...

Found five in my yard this year after three days of rain. Perfect texture and color and now I will see how they taste. Thanks for the recipe suggestions.

Martin Smith said...

We have found 28 giant puff balls this year. I wish I had more of a craving for them. I love the flavour but not the texture.

janis carrigan said...

I like to saute mine in olive oil and onions, topped with Parmesan cheese.

Stephanie the Chef said...

Are there any places to go hunting for puffballs where you aren't risking trespassing? I know its early but I'm near Sarnia. Don't mind roadtrips, but I do not want to miff any property owners either. Appreciate the posts!

Ferdzy said...

Stephanie, I don't know where to look but I can tell you there is no point looking until early September. They tend to like lawns and grass; sometimes an open spot in the woods, if that helps.

Stephanie the Chef said...

Thanks for the reply! I am anxiously awaiting the season to start. Happy hunting!!

bajagill said...

September? We found two today, softball sized. Although, we are in Eastern Oregon.