Along the Grapevine

Puffballs – what to do with them

20 Comments

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There are few, or maybe even no mushrooms which are easier to identify than puffball mushrooms. It is the perfect species for the non-expert like myself. However, foraging for mushrooms always requires caution, and this is no exception. So here are a few tips on how to identify puffballs with impunity.

There are several types of puffballs, but I am describing here the calvatea gigantea so as not to create confusion and because that’s what I find around here and have experience with.

Where they grow: In meadows, fields and deciduous forests.

What they look like: Completely spherical and white when immature. They have no stems or gills, but are connected to the ground by narrow string-like roots. They are soft and like a spongy bread in texture.

When to pick them: Once mature, they are no longer edible. When too small, you could confuse them with other mushrooms. They should be grapefruit size or larger, but still be completely white inside and out.

What to watch for: Any yellowing, development of spores or a mushroom cap developing. Do not eat any of these.

Look-alikes: poisonous earthballs which are hard and have a blackish interior.

If you are lucky enough to have any of these fine specimens accessible to you, there are several ways you can prepare them. Sauteed, cooked in stews, soups or casseroles, and even added to breads or grain dishes. They have a delicious but mild earthy flavour. Be forewarned however that, if frying, they will absorb a lot of oil and become soggy, so it is best to fry quickly with just a little oil brushed on them.

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I decided to fry some lightly. I sliced them, brushed them on both sides with a mixture of olive oil, salt, garlic and sumac, then browned them in a pan quickly on a high heat.

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These are delicious on their own, as a side dish or added to a sandwich. However, I used them for a brunch dish as a crepe filling. I added them to fried onions, herbs and seasonings and enough plain yogurt (or sour cream) to make a sauce. If needed, add a little thickener such as cornstarch.

Fill the prepared crepes (any kind), fold, cover with grated cheese and broil until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

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Puffballs - what to do with them on Punk Domestics

Linked to Fiesta Friday #84

Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

20 thoughts on “Puffballs – what to do with them

  1. Wish I had this info when we lived in Manchester – we had a bunch of puffballs in our woods and Gene kept wanting me to do something with them. Never got around to it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow Hilda, you never cease to amaze me with your knowledge of what is growing around you and how to adapt them into something real tasty and nutritious. Well done! They look real good.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Grapefruit size or larger? Wow, that’s impressive! I would love to find one. Unfortunately I think I have the poisonous earth balls instead in my backyard. They’re kind of hard, the skin tough and leathery.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, thanks for the mushroom lesson, Hilda! I only go foraging here in autumn with professionals. Love that you paired your mushrooms with sumac. Thanks for sharing with FF#84

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  5. Wow, you are amazing Hilda! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a puffball mushroom before, but now I know what to do with them! They sound wonderful!

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  6. I live in Gainesville, FL and I am lucky enough to have these growing in my front yard! Thank you for the recipes.

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  7. I”m waiting for our puffballs to appear. Love the idea of using them in savoury crepes, thanks for sharing Hilda.

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  8. Hilda,
    I always learn so much from your posts! Those crepes and mushrooms look scrumptious!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Wow! What a great post! Me & my partner LOVE mushrooms, but none of us has enough knowledge to risk any unfamiliar species. Thanks a million for this one Hilda!

    Like

  10. Pingback: ITALIAN STYLE GOURMET MUSHROOM RISOTTO

  11. Pingback: Puffball Mushroom Flour | Along the Grapevine

  12. Pingback: Mushroom Puffs | Along the Grapevine

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