Thursday, September 1, 2016

Puffball for Lunch

 Yesterday (08/31) I walked over to the henhouse to get some potting supplies. At the edge of the meadow I saw what I first thought was a spaghetti squash, still young and white. But who would have stolen one of my squash and carried it to the meadow and left it there uneaten? I walked over to better see what it was.

What I found was a Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) right on its annual schedule. They appear in Ohio, especially in late August and early September. I measured it to be 8" in its longest direction (it was a little lop-sided). For information on this mushroom, click here.

 This morning (09/01) I picked it and brought it into the kitchen so that Mom and I could fry it for lunch. It was still quite fresh ... clean, firm, white underneath except for a small area which we removed. I'm holding it against me for a size comparison. It could have been a human skull.

 The white undersides were firm and solid, just as they should be. It feels something like cutting sponge rubber, though much more tender.

 We first cut it into large, thick slices, something along the lines of slicing a loaf of fresh bread.

 Mom cleans up as she goes. You don't make a mess when Miss Mary is around.

 She fried the puffball in butter and added just salt and pepper to taste. We did not remove the "skin" but made sure everything was well-washed before use.

 Here's a single slice of the delicacy. It reminds me somewhat of a scrambled egg in both taste and texture. The butter gives it a golden color. Breading would have been a nice addition but Mom didn't want to bother with an egg wash. The smell of the puffball, both before and during frying, exhibits a true woodland scent.

 I sat down to a couple of slices before lunch. Mom ate quite a few slices as she fried them.

 We haven't had puffballs in years. They're really quite a delicious find and another of nature's free gifts. You have only to standby, watch and wait.

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