Puffball mushrooms. Those white soccerballish looking funghi that are oh so tempting to kick…but don’t! Instead, make them the centerstage at your next meal. Goodbye tofu hello puffball!
WARNING: Do NOT eat any mushroom you cannot identify 100% and always make sure you have gone hunting several times with a seasoned mushroom hunter before you began harvesting!
Puffballs , for those unfamiliar, are found in late summer and fall. Fertile pastured land and woodsy areas that are covered in fallen leaves are the most common places to find these little delicacies. Generally speaking, it is hard to confuse a full grown puffball with any other mushroom. Think white balloons dotting the landscape, but on the ground of course! They are a foragers dream as often when you find one you often find many and their white coloring makes them an easy spot among rusty brown leaves.
That is the general gist of puffballs, if you have any other questions see the Wildman Steve Brill’s article at his site http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/ for additional help.
So you have found your puffball…now what? Well, first slice it off from the ground and bring the little guy home. It is always best to use mushrooms ASAP but if you must put it in the fridge in a brown paper bag. When ready to use, which again should be ASAP, you should peel off the outer shell like below. The outer skin is about a quarter inch deep and will peel off fairly well. If it tends to stick use a pairing knife or just shave off the outer skin like you would if peeling a muskmelon or cantaloupe.
Now you are ready for cooking! Below are two recipes that are my go-to for puffballs. The first is just a sauté that can easily be used to stockpile your freezer with frozen mushrooms for winter. The second is a puffball pancake, a recipe I learned while apprenticing on a lovely perennial polculture farm in western Minnesota called Moonstone.
Get slicing and dicing, soon you will be having a fungi feast!
Sautéed Puffball Mushrooms for Freezing
amount of puffballs you have to sauté, diced into 1″ cubes
oil (I used sunflower)
Add approximately 2 T oil for every one, 8 inch in diameter puffball mushroom. Heat the in a large skillet you would use for pancakes, and add oil over medium heat. When warmed add the mushrooms.
Sauté the mushrooms over medium heat stirring occasionally for approximately 10 minutes.
When the mushrooms look wilted and glossy, lightly salt them and remove from heat. Let cool and place in freezer bags for winter storage.
1 large puffball sliced into 1″ rounds
1/4 c. flour of your choice
1/2 T nutritional yeast
pinch of salt & pepper to taste
oil of your choice for frying
Heat a teaspoon or more of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Mix the egg together and place in a separate spot. Mix together the flour, nutritional yeast and salt in a separate container. Dip the puffball slices in the liquid, coating each side and then dredge in the flour mixture.
Add the dredged puffball pieces, making sure to not overcrowd the pan. Fry up nicely on each side for approximately 5-10 minutes or till golden. Remove the puffball to a plate with a paper towel and lay the mushroom on the towel.
When finished frying all the mushrooms, remove from the paper towel and and enjoy!!