Sunday, October 3, 2010

Giant puffball

I only trust my identification skills enough to eat two kinds of wild mushrooms: morels and giant puffballs (Calvatia gigante). While morels blend readily into the woodland floor, giant puffballs can be spotted at a distance thanks to their size and color. It's hard to miss a mushroom as big as your head.

When they're young, they are solid white inside and out. At that stage, slice them into steak-sized slabs and fry them. As they mature the inside turns yellow and loses texture and taste. Eventually the inside turns dark and releases its spores. These two were growing at the Kalamazoo Nature Center, so I left them untouched.

There are smaller puffballs, but I'm afraid I'd confuse them with some poisonous look-a-likes, so I stick with the giant ones.

If you'd like to learn more, the Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club leads public mushroom hunts throughout the state.

No comments: