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Giant puff balls edible ?  RSS feed

 
David Livingston
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Are Giant puff balls edible
a) yes  but only once
b) yes but not worth the effort
c) yes fry them in oil with a little garlic
I have two in the garden white ovoids about 8 to 5 inch in diameter

David
 
Burra Maluca
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I've never eaten them but my other half has.  He says 'yes with oil and garlic' and also 'yes, raw will do'.

In the UK I was taught that if they are white inside they are good to eat, but if they are black they are 'earth balls' and not edible.

We have puffballs in Portugal too, but if you break them open they look like this, so we've never touched them.

 
David Livingston
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here is a pic . I must admit being not sure about this
thats my size ten shoe

David
butterflys-and-puff-balls-037.JPG
[Thumbnail for butterflys-and-puff-balls-037.JPG]
 
Burra Maluca
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Go on David, pick the big one and show us what it's like inside.

You know you want to...
 
David Livingston
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white all the way through
 
Judith Browning
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We've eaten them...I'm not impressed and think they are much more fun to 'explode' when full of spore rather than eat them when young

The most important among them is the pure white flesh, without any shades of yellow, purple, or brown. The flesh must be solid, dense, and firm. It has been observed that with age, their flesh gets less denser.
When cut in half, the flesh must have a uniform consistency. There should not be any sign of a developing mushroom, like gills, caps, or stalks.
Sometimes, young amanita mushrooms (poisonous) may look like puffballs; but, you can identify them by cutting in half, so that the developing structures can be viewed. So, puffball mushrooms do not have long stalks, gills, or caps.
Pigskin poison puffball (Scleroderma citrinum) is a type of puffball mushroom that is found to cause gastrointestinal problems. This puffball has a dark-colored thick skin with designs. Even their flesh may have a purplish tinge, while young.
Even though, puffball mushrooms are edible, you must harvest and use these mushrooms, when they are young. The flesh has to be white and firm, with a uniform consistency. If the flesh is yellowish, or if there are signs of developing spores; you must not use it for consumption.
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/puffball-mushroom-identification.html
 
stephen lowe
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As others have said, if white inside they are good. I actually quite enjoy them, I find them to be like the best tasting tofu. Grilled on low heat with ample butter and seasoning of your choice I find them to be delightful. I would say eat the big one and, especially if you like it, let the little one go to spore and explode to get the best of both worlds and hopefully more in the future.

As a side note I have heard that in parts of the UK they can get up to 50 lbs while still being edible and (at least back in the day, the book I read about this in was published in the 50s) they would occasionaly be so large that they would be mistaken for sheep in a pasture.  The biggest I have eaten were about the size of a volleyball.
 
Wj Carroll
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Giant puffballs are one for the 5 or so "no-brainer" edible mushrooms, as they are easy to identify and very good to eat.
 
Jarret Hynd
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I found one about the size of a football once while heading home from foraging through a pasture. Got home and sliced it open only to find it had spored-out already. I should have cut it open when I found it, but was too excited I suppose.

Haven't found another one since then. I'd still love to try one. Hope you enjoyed yours though!
 
Kevin Derheimer
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I tried them as a kid in Indiana, I spent a lot of time roaming the woods and eating what we found.  Puffballs didn't have much taste, more of a delivery system for butter!  I regarded it as a novelty, there were much tastier things to eat!
 
Tiffany Switzer
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The giant Puffballs we had in NY where I was a kid were very good. Breaded in panko bread crumbs and fried with a bit of garlic. Make sure as everyone has said, they are white and firm. Look in the same place over and over they will be back.  Often we found them in fields after a rain or in the woods near leaks. Also very good if you get them small..at least to me. The largest I have ever seen was about basketball, plenty for a meal in a house of 3 people. I noticed them mostly in late summer or early fall in my area. Enjoy it and let us know what you think of it !
 
Dale Hodgins
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My dad harvested a huge one when we were on our way to the Lucknow Fall Fair in Ontario in about 1971. He entered it and won first prize for the most unusual produce category, beating out people who had gone to a lot of trouble to grow giant pumpkins and such.

He cooked it up with butter and soya sauce. So it can be both a butter and a salt delivery system. That same day, my younger brother entered our rotten little pony, Bucky, into every category that had few entries. The uncooperative beast came in last in every category, but he still came home with a lot of money and ribbons, since he was the only entry in some categories and never entered any where there were more than three others.
 
Jim Fry
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We highly recommend puff balls. They are an easy, good tasting, reliable and safe way to enter the world of mushroom picking. Once you get confident in them, you can (very carefully) begin to move on to other types of mushrooms. A couple days ago we picked several hundred dollars worth of chicken-of-the-woods, chanterelles and black trumpets (we don't sell 'em, we eat 'em). If you want the best in learning all things mushroom, come for a visit and you can spend as long as you wish with our master picker, Glenn. We'll do a work trade for meals and classes are free. Stone Garden Farm. Richfield, Ohio.
 
Deb Stephens
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Ahhhh puffballs! Yes, you can eat them as so many others have pointed out. However, they really are a lot like tofu -- both in texture and LACK of taste. The thing is, tofu can be quite delicious if you know how to cook it. Same with puffballs. Don't even think about preparing them like you would any other mushroom or you will be distinctly underwhelmed. Tofu and puffballs are the kind of foods that take on the flavors of whatever they are cooked with, so if you like your mushrooms to have more flavor cook them with strong-flavored herbs and vegetables. Peppers, garlic, maybe a bit of smoke flavoring -- anything that will readily impart its flavor to those bland little cubes. Then, if you want texture as well, consider marinating them in something strong, then shaking them in a bag of seasoned flour or cracker crumbs and frying them before adding them to other things. Frying toughens them up just a bit so they're less melt-in-the-mouth soft and more mushroomy-chewy. Experiment! It's worth it, I promise.

One VERY IMPORTANT thing to I wanted to add:
ALWAYS cut your puffballs in two from top to bottom before eating. This insures you haven't accidentally gotten hold of an immature Destroying Angel or similar deadly fungi. Some real baddies start out looking a lot like eggs or small puffballs, but you can see the undeveloped parts of the adult mushroom inside when you cut them in half. If it looks like a piece of fine-grained white bread all the way from top to bottom, relax -- it's a puffball. If it looks like something that will go on to develop a cap with gills DO NOT EAT IT!!!
 
Jarret Hynd
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Jarret Hynd wrote:I found one about the size of a football once while heading home from foraging through a pasture. Got home and sliced it open only to find it had spored-out already. I should have cut it open when I found it, but was too excited I suppose.

Haven't found another one since then. I'd still love to try one. Hope you enjoyed yours though!


I looked through my old outdoor pics a week ago and forgot I had taken a picture of the one I found.

I was concerned at the time(1 year ago) about the black spots, but after the fact realized that no mushroom, except a Common Puffball, could grow to be 11 inches long and weight 8 pounds in my area. None of the look-alike mushrooms such as Lycoperdon foetidum or Lycoperdon umbrinum really matched it's characteristics.


But as the old mushroom saying goes, "when it doubt, throw it out". This was a week after picking it, and the spore colours matched what the online resources had said about puffballs.



I didn't find any this year in the location where the above one was found, but it's been awfully dry.

Deb Stephens wrote:
One VERY IMPORTANT thing to I wanted to add:
ALWAYS cut your puffballs in two from top to bottom before eating. This insures you haven't accidentally gotten hold of an immature Destroying Angel or similar deadly fungi. Some real baddies start out looking a lot like eggs or small puffballs, but you can see the undeveloped parts of the adult mushroom inside when you cut them in half. If it looks like a piece of fine-grained white bread all the way from top to bottom, relax -- it's a puffball. If it looks like something that will go on to develop a cap with gills DO NOT EAT IT!!!


Good tips.

I weighted the pros and cons when I started mushroom foraging, and made the choice to not eat most white wild field mushrooms as many deadly mushrooms fit similar characteristics - with exception to puffballs and fairy-ring mushrooms. This isn't to say it's not worth learning about, as it's a valuable skill to have, but I find morels, chanterelle and chicken of the woods for example, are much better tasting than Agaricus shrooms anyways, and the false look-alikes are fewer and have less severe risks(you won't die) if you do mistakenly eat them.
 
Deb Stephens
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Jarret Hynd wrote:
I weighted the pros and cons when I started mushroom foraging, and made the choice to not eat most white wild field mushrooms as many deadly mushrooms fit similar characteristics - with exception to puffballs and fairy-ring mushrooms. This isn't to say it's not worth learning about, as it's a valuable skill to have, but I find morels, chanterelle and chicken of the woods for example, are much better tasting than Agaricus shrooms anyways, and the false look-alikes are fewer and have less severe risks(you won't die) if you do mistakenly eat them.


Don't leave out some of the Lactarius mushrooms. My all-time favorite for taste and texture is the Indigo lactarius. I don't know if it grows in Canada, but in the southern US it pops up around pines in September. You really can't mistake it for anything else because it is BLUE, and when you cut into it, it bleeds a bright blue milky juice. The cut pieces turn green within a few minutes. It's delicious! Indigo lactarius

 
 
Jarret Hynd
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Deb Stephens wrote:
Jarret Hynd wrote:
I weighted the pros and cons when I started mushroom foraging, and made the choice to not eat most white wild field mushrooms as many deadly mushrooms fit similar characteristics - with exception to puffballs and fairy-ring mushrooms. This isn't to say it's not worth learning about, as it's a valuable skill to have, but I find morels, chanterelle and chicken of the woods for example, are much better tasting than Agaricus shrooms anyways, and the false look-alikes are fewer and have less severe risks(you won't die) if you do mistakenly eat them.


Don't leave out some of the Lactarius mushrooms. My all-time favorite for taste and texture is the Indigo lactarius. I don't know if it grows in Canada, but in the southern US it pops up around pines in September. You really can't mistake it for anything else because it is BLUE, and when you cut into it, it bleeds a bright blue milky juice. The cut pieces turn green within a few minutes. It's delicious! Indigo lactarius

 


I didn't intentionally leave them out, but nature has done that for me unfortunately, hehe.

They only grow about 3-4 hours north of where I am, but I haven't had the time to make the trek up there since I began to hobby around with mushrooms a few years ago. A project I'm hoping to do in the future is to get some spore prints and start a natural patch of them here, since between seasonal foragers and northern development projects, they are getting harder and harder to find. But that's a bit off-topic.

And yes, I'm very envious that you have them locally . Considering how rare a truly blue food is in nature, I think it's a culinary treasure. It's an absolutely beautiful mushroom.
 
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