Puffballs are a common type of mushroom that can be found in many parts of the world. They have a smooth, spongy texture and a slightly sweet taste. Puffballs can be eaten raw or cooked, but there are a few things you need to know before you eat one.
This guide will teach you how to safely eat a puffball mushroom.
How Do You Eat a Common Puffball?
If you’re lucky enough to find a common puffball (Calvatia gigantea – aka Giant Puffball) in the wild, here’s how to turn it into a delicious meal.
First, confirm that it is indeed a common giant puffball and is safe to eat. Not all puffballs are safe and some are poisonous.
Once you’ve confirmed that your mushroom is safe to eat, clean it thoroughly and remove the bottom where it is attached to the ground. You can either slice it up and fry it, or add it to soups or stews. Other cooking methods involve roasting, boiling, and baking.
How Do You Identify a Common Giant Puffball?
The common puffball is a large white mushroom with a smooth, spongy texture. It can grow to be up to 12 inches in diameter! The best way to confirm that you have found a giant puffball and not a poisonous look-alike is to cut it in half vertically. If the interior is solid white with no sign of any gills or spores, then you have found a giant puffball. If the interior is anything other than solid white, do not eat it!
When Are Common Puffballs in Season?
Puffballs can typically be found in the late summer and early fall months. They grow in fields, woods, and lawns – pretty much anywhere there is grass.
Is It Safe to Eat Raw Puffballs or Do You Have to Cook Them?
Puffballs are safe to eat raw as long as the inside is pure white (no browning or old parts). Cooking them will make them easier to digest and brings out their flavor a bit more.
This question arises because many common edible mushrooms have harmful compounds that get destroyed during cooking. Store-bought button mushrooms contain a carcinogenic compound, hydrazine, that gets destroyed during cooking.
The Taste and Smell of Fresh Puffball
Puffballs have a mild, slightly sweet taste. They are often compared to tofu because of their spongy texture. When they are fresh, they have very little smell. As they age, they can develop an unpleasant odor.
Frozen Puffball Taste and Texture
Puffballs can be frozen and used later. When thawed, they will have a softer texture but will still be edible. The taste will not be affected by freezing but they do become mushier after cooking.
Dried Puffball Taste and Texture
Drying puffballs concentrates their flavor and makes them chewier. They can be rehydrated by soaking in water for 1-2 hours.
Where to Use Fresh Puffball
Fresh puffballs can be sliced and added to salads.
Where to Use Frozen Puffball Slices
Frozen puffballs are best used in stews or stir-fries.
Where to Use Sliced Dried Puffball
Dried puffballs can be reconstituted and used in soups or stews. Dried puffballs can also be battered and fried though this is better done with fresh or frozen slices.
How to Use Powered Dried Puffball
Powdered dried puffballs are commonly used in soups and stews.
Grilling Puffball Mushrooms
Puffballs can be quickly cleaned, sliced, and cooked straight on the grill. This is the fastest and healthiest way to prepare them.
Watch the video below to see it in action.
Fried Giant Puffball Recipe
- 1 Giant Puffball, sliced
- 1 cup Flour
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
- 1 Egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup Milk
- Oil for frying
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- In a bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper.
- In another bowl, beat together egg and milk.
- Dip puffball slices in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, and then place in the hot oil.
- Fry for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Serve hot!
You can also use the method above plus stuff them with cheese. Watch that in action in the video below.
Butter Sauteed Pan-Fried Puffball Recipe
- 1 Giant Puffball, sliced
- 1/4 cup butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add puffball slices to the pan and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown
Puffball Stew Recipe
- 1 Giant Puffball, cubed
- 1 Potato, diced
- 1 Carrot, diced
- 1 Onion, diced
- 2 cups Chicken broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients to a large pot.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot!
How Often Can You Eat Common Puffball?
Puffballs are safe to eat every day. They are a good source of fiber and antioxidants. They are low in calories and fat and are a good choice for people watching their weight.
Puffballs are versatile and healthy mushroom that can be eaten in many different ways. They are safe to eat raw, cooked, frozen, or dried. When choosing a puffball, make sure it is pure white inside and has no browning or old parts. You can find them fresh in the late summer and early fall months. The easiest way to cook them is sliced and pan-fried in butter. They can also be quickly added to your favorite mushroom stew recipe.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.