What to do with Puffball mushrooms

dandy_line(3B (Brainerd, Mn))September 16, 2006

THis may be off the topic but couldn't find anyplace else to ask this. I found 4 very large Puffball mushrooms in my woods-a little smaller than soccer balls. I took them home and am eating into them. Any suggestions on how to preserve them as I cannot eat all these before they go bad.

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kwoods(Cold z7 Long Is)

They don't keep well. I find they last longer if intact but are best picked when you are ready to eat them entirely. Try sauteeing a large slice with garlic in olive oil and butter then melt mozzarella over the top. They will be gone very quickly that way!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 10:30AM
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ernestm(z4)

I tried my first puffball this weekend. Found them in Minnesota as well. Anyway I did some searching about them an found a site where someone makes "puffball powder" by basically drying them down and pulverizing. The powder is then added to various dishes and/or used as a breading. Sorry, I'm too lazy to post the link but if you google puffball powder it should be the second result.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 11:13AM
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bella_trix(z6b SE PA)

Please be VERY carefull when eating wild mushrooms. I assume those of you that posted know what you are doing, but I don't want someone reading these posts to assume that it is safe to eat any "puffball" mushroom found in the wild. Some species of puffball are poisonous. More importantly, the most deadly mushrooms (those that kill people every year) can be confused with a puffball. The family Amanita has the Death Cap and Destroying Angel mushroom in it. They first appear as "eggs" which look exactly like puffballs and can kill you. If you cut a puffball in half and see a mushroom imprint, throw it out! Do not eat it! Hunting mushrooms can be an extremely fun and tasty hobby, but you MUST know what you are doing and how to identify the mushrooms that can kill you.

Bellatrix

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 1:02PM
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yarthkin(6-7a)

Bellatrix,

The warning is appropriate; however, it might also be appropriate to note that Fungi are no more poisonous than plants, and not any more dangerous. You wouldn't eat a random berry from the forest unless you were sure about what it was, right? Same situation here. If you know the key characteristics, eating wild mushrooms is as safe as eating huckleberries or wild raspberries.

For puff balls in the Eastern U.S., the best thing is to cut them in half. If they are solid, white, and don't have any internal mushroom parts then you're safe. Even so, have someone who knows show you one. Once you've seen it, you'll never mistake it for something else (as long as you follow the key characteristics - after all, just eating any "blue" berry from the forest isn't the wisest idea either unless you know what you are looking at).

Regarding preservation, most mushrooms can be dried or cooked then frozen until you are ready to use them. I suspect with puffballs you could slice them, then dry them if they were fresh enough. They have alot of water content though, so I'm not sure. I've also heard they can be good if sliced breaded and deep-fried (then again, isn't everything good that way?)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 2:14PM
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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

Watch out for the pigskin poison puffball (not a true puffball). It has a plain white interior when young. It is small, approx. one inch, has a thick, distinct skin or rind, and a denser, moister interior than a true puffball. In my yard it tends to grow partly in the ground, rather than completely on top of it.

The spiny puffball is a true puffball but of uncertain edibility.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 8:05PM
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ernestm(z4)

Yes indeed it is very important to be certain that what you are eating is safe,(heck, you can't even be sure about spinach these days!).

The puffball I tried was sliced thinly, dipped in milk and eggwash, rolled in cracker crumbs and fried in butter and olive oil. It was good but 90% of what I tasted was the cracker crumb butter combination.

I think I'll stick to just enjoying the oddity of seeing those big white puffballs in the woods.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 11:35AM
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bella_trix(z6b SE PA)

Good point, yarthkin. As an avid mushroom hunter, I wouldn't want to scare anyone off mushroom hunting! It's relatively easy to learn to tell different mushrooms appart and there are plently of mushroom clubs that love to teach people.

I also found this information from the Mycological Society of San Francisco Cookbook:
Preserving
Chop and sauté them before freezing. The larger species may be sliced and slightly fried, then frozen for later use as crêpes. Separate each portion with waxed paper. Dehydrated puffballs can be powdered for flavoring bland foods.

For good puffball recipes, go to: www.mssf.org, click cookbook and then index (scroll down to puffballs). The other recipes are also really good!

Bellatrix

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 2:39PM
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