Puffballs are easy to identify for the beginning mushroom hunter because there are no poisonous species. The larger puffballs grow on composted soil and meadows. Puffballs fist-sized or larger are unmistakable. Puffballs grow on the ground or on dead wood The best time for finding puffballs is in the fall.
They must be all-white inside. Any shade of yellow or purple makes them inedible . When you cut a puffball open, you'll find no stem and no gills inside.
Peel the outside cover off before preparing. You can saute them, simmer them in soups, cook them with grains. Dip slices in a batter of egg and milk and cover with bread crumbs seasoned with salt and pepper and fry them up in butter or oil. They have a very earthy flavor and the unique taste will not disappear in a dish.
While I agree that I know of no poisonous puffballs some caution is still necessary in picking them. While puffballs are good if the insides are all white, poisonous amanita buttons can resemble puffballs and may be found in the same areas. Make certain that the mushroom you have picked is solid inside. The amanita button consists of a veil or skin over a stemmed mushroom that will eventually break through the veil. Slicing one of them will reveal a hollow bulb with a stem and gilled cap inside. They really are not hard to tell apart but I wanted to emphasize this for anyone who hasn't picked mushrooms before and doesn't have access to a field guide.
I search high and low this time of year for the hen-of-the woods. Also known as ramshead and often by the Japanese name Miatake.
They're also very distinctive and in my area grow at the base of the largest oaks.
Two good sized ones, trimmed, blanched, and frozen will satisfy my need for wild mushroom for the entire winter
... apparently they're good for you too.
Are the really big puffballs going to be edible or is it only the small ones? I noticed just the other day three puffballs about the size of small soccer balls growing along the roadside.
Big puffballs are good. Just remember that they have to pure white all the way through on the inside or they have gone bad.
My wife is from Michigan. She keeps going on and on about puffballs. I tried them while we were up there. Meh.
Now, morels, don't get me started!!!! Makes me glad I work as a cook.
I agree, puffballs don't do it for me either. There's plenty of other 'shrooms out there that are much tastier
I collect and dry a lot of black trumpets which are a kind of chanterelle. Despite their appearance they have a very delicate flavor.
I also like to collect and freeze honey mushrooms which can be extremely plentiful in recent logged out wood lots.
There's a couple of trees that I know of that are good for some oysters every year and of coarse I'm always on the look-out for the King Bolete which as far as I'm concerned is the finest tasting wild mushroom there is.