As a kid I loved finding puffballs, especially when I could stomp on them and raise a cloud of “dust.” I haven’t been puffball hunting for years, so imagine my surprise when one appeared on my regular dog walking path. And it was a huge one!
We’ve had a lot of rain and I think that may have played a role in encouraging this puffball to suddenly appear — it hadn’t been there two days before and I hadn’t taken the path the day before because of the pouring rain.
Since I’m not a mycologist and choosing the wrong mushroom to eat could easily be fatal, I took the puffball home and began researching how to tell if what I had was a puffball.
Since I’m a big believer in science based sites I was delighted to find the Cornell Mushroom Blog which was full of great information for mushroom eating safety as well as some fun facts on puffballs. Turns out the biggest puffball ever found was over eight feet in diameter and weighed nearly 50 pounds. Mine was nowhere near that big but it was a fun find anyway.
Last night we tried cooking the puffball. Following Cornell’s instructions we cut it in half to check for gills and color. All appeared to be well so we cooked it up adding scallions and garlic because we read that puffballs have a pretty mild taste and a marshmallow like texture. Right on both counts. Adding some smoked butter made it tastier, but I think I’ll go back to stepping on any puffballs I find in the future to watch the “smoke” come out.
Scott and I agreed that we prefer spring foraging for morels, ramps and fiddle head ferns!