Puffball mushrooms belong to the family of fungi. They differ in size and their surface can be smooth or covered with small warts or spikes depending on the type of mushroom. These mushrooms are categorized into three different genera: Calvatia, Calbovista, and Lycoperdon. The mushrooms that belong to Calvatia grow to be as big as a football and are commonly referred to as giant mushrooms. Calbovista are recognized by their grapefruit-like sporocarps and felty warts. Lycoperdon are moderate-sized with a round fruiting body that tapers to a wide stalk.
In the early stages, puffball mushrooms appear to be a white ball, embedded in the ground with little or no stem. It is soft and white without gills, when cut open. As the mushroom grows, it changes its color from white to yellow and then brown. It forms spores within its body. Once dried, it puffs off emitting a cloud of spores. Though it is edible, it should not be confused with other poisonous fungi. It is important to know the features to identify the edible one from the poisonous one.
If cut open, the edible mushroom appears as a white creamy mass without gills or stem. The poisonous species are called amanitas that have gills in their immature state which can be noticed after careful examination.
It is best to eat these mushrooms in their immature or young state. The older ones are dry and form powdery spores and are not a good alternative. They can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. However, when thawed, they appear soft and mushy. Therefore, it may be best to cook them first and then refrigerate the cooked dish. Preparing is quite easy. First, clean the dirt away from the outer layer, and then cut the base off and clean them with water. They can be cut into cubes or slices, breaded and chopped as per the requirement of the dish.
Stuffed Giant Puffball Mushrooms
- White giant puffball, 1
- Courgettes, 1-2 (depending on size, chopped)
- Rashers smoked bacon, 2 (chopped)
- Parsley, ½ cup (chopped)
- Ham, 1 slice (chopped)
- Onion, 1 (small, chopped)
- Tomatoes, 6 (chopped)
- Basil, ½ cup (torn up)
- Thyme leaves, 1 tsp.
- Garlic, 1 clove (crushed)
- Oatmeal, 1 tbsp.
- Cut one end off the puffball and scrap the inside, carefully. Chop up the scrapings.
- Mix all the ingredients together with the scrapping and stuff the mixture back into the puffball. Cover the puffball with the cut end and wrap it in foil. Place in a roasting tray.
- Place the stuffed mushroom in the oven at 180 degrees and bake for about 2 hours.
- Slice and serve with vegetables.
Giant Crust Pizza
- Giant puffball mushroom, 1 (young)
- Pizza base
- Olive oil, 2 tbsp.
- Pizza sauce, 2 tbsp.
- Shredded pizza cheese, ¼ cup
- Pizza toppings of your choice
- Wash the mushroom. Remove the outer leathery skin-like layer.
- Cut it into slices. Use 2 slices for the recipe. Freeze or dehydrate the rest of the slices.
- Brush olive oil on both sides of each slice and place the slices on your gas grill. Grill the slices till you can see the grill marks. Check to see if they are crisp on both sides.
- Spread a small tomato pizza sauce (pesto sauce can be used) on your pizza.
- Place all the desired toppings on your pizza with shredded cheese and mushroom slices.
- The oven should be preheated to 400 degrees. Place the pizza in the oven to bake. The cooking time depends on the number of toppings put.
- Risotto rice, 9 oz.
- Garlic, 3 cloves
- Puffball mushroom, ½
- Butter, 2 tbsp.
- Onion, 1
- White wine, 8 fl oz.
- Stock (veg or chicken), 30 fl oz.
- Mixed herbs―salt and pepper
- Asparagus spears, 15
- Cut the mushroom into thin strips after peeling off the outer skin.
- Chop onion and garlic and lightly fry it in olive oil. Add mushroom strips and risotto rice. Fry for another 2-4 minutes.
- Add white wine. Once the wine is absorbed, add stock and seasonings. Simmer the heat and cook it for 20 minutes.
- In a separate frying pan, gently fry asparagus in butter.
- Sprinkle the fried asparagus with parmesan and serve it with risotto rice.
- Puffball mushrooms, 4 (medium)
- Onion, 1 (small, diced)
- Jalapeno pepper, 1 (seeded and diced)
- Whole raw milk, 1 cup
- Butter, 2 tbsp
- White wine, 1 cup
- Garlic, 3 cloves (diced)
- Potatoes, 1 cup (diced)
- Raw cream, ½ cup
- Flour, 1 tbsp.
- Oil, 1 tbsp.
- Fresh ground pepper
- Chives to garnish
- Salt to taste
- Heat oil and melt butter in a pan.
- Fry diced onions, jalapeno, mushrooms and potatoes.
- Cook till the onions are translucent and the potatoes slightly brown. Add the chopped garlic.
- In a separate dish, add flour and milk and stir to make a slurry.
- Add the slurry to the pan. Add wine, salt and ground pepper. Cook it till the potatoes are fork tender.
- Add cream. Garnish the dish with chives when you serve.
The next time you go hunting, be sure that you pick up the edible mushrooms. You don't want to puff away your life just like the puffball mushroom.