Sunday, October 19, 2014

Puffball hunting

Rain, lawns, puffballs. After it poured with rain at the end of the week I could hardly wait to go out and search for mushrooms.

It's been years since I found decent puffballs.

The one above was about eight inches across.

Puffballs and imposters, possibly a species of Leucoagaricus - yet to be identified.

Rock, not puffball. Yes, I did try.

Puffball, emerging.

Old exploded or stomped-on puffball. The purple gives it its one common name: purple-spored puffball. 

Puffballs safely at home with a bonus of meadow mushrooms (Agaricus campestris).

The puffballs are probably Calvatia fragilis. They definitely are Calvatia. 

The 'probably' in this case is not rash carelessness: there are no poisonous true puffballs, though there are a couple of similar-ish mushrooms that you should be aware of, if you're puffball hunting. Purple inside when young means you have found a Scleroderma citrinum - do not eat. You want pure white, in cross section. 

And the creepy silhouette of a mushroom inside, when sliced in half, means you have the button stage of a destroying angel, or death cap, Amanitas you really, really don't want to eat. 

And, at last, lunch. I roasted the smaller ones whole, after peeling, then sliced, burning my fingers. They retain heat worsen' baked potatoes.

I love puffballs, though I don't know that the texture would appeal to everyone: buttery-silky, very tender, like the most delicate tofu, or, closer: roasted or poached bone marrow.

But then, I eat such things.

Recommended reading:

Mushrooms Demystified, by David Arora

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