Giant puffball, a recognizable edible mushroom

This rainy summer has produced a bumper crop of mushrooms, that we will encounter on our hikes, the next several weeks.  While not consuming wild mushrooms, unless you’re absolutely sure of its identity, remains a very strong recommendation, the giant puffball (Calvatia gigantea) has a very unique appearance, and is considered to be a choice edible by many.  There is nothing else that looks like it.

Giant, is a good descriptive name.  They are roundish and can get up to a foot in diameter.  If you find one, at the right stage, its flesh can feed many people.  First, it must be white and firm, throughout.  If the inside flesh is not pure white and firm to the touch, it is no longer edible.  If you remove the outer layer, the inside flesh will also be clean.

There are many ways to enjoy your find.  One way, is to cut slices, about a half inch thick.  Dip the slice into an egg and milk mixture, and then into Italian bread crumbs.  Saute in butter until golden brown, serve, and enjoy.  You can also puree the flesh in a blender with a soup or sauce, before cooking, to give it a mushroom flavor.  Try it, and bring to a social, for your dish to pass.  Happy hunting.

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