If you’re a mushroom lover, you probably know that different varieties each have their own unique flavors. Whether you picked some of these mushrooms up from your local farmer’s market or you have foraged some from the wild, you are probably wondering what do Puffball Mushrooms taste like?
Puffball Mushrooms are known to have a mild flavor, similar to tofu. Just like tofu, they also take on whatever flavor you add to them. They are great in stir-fries, miso soup, and other Asian cuisines. They also sometimes have a cheesy flavor which is why some people choose to batter and fry slices of it while others like to use a thick slice of Puffball Mushroom as the crust of a pizza with layers of toppings.
If you are interested in learning more about when you can eat wild Puffball Mushrooms as well as more about harvesting, cleaning, and storing them keep reading the article below. Be sure to stay tuned to the end to check out a simple and delicious Classic Fried Puffball Recipe.
Can I Eat Wild Puffball Mushrooms?
Puffball Mushrooms are usually found wild as opposed to farmer’s markets or stores. Oftentimes, they are an amateur forager’s favorite mushroom to harvest due to it’s ease of recognition. However, it should be noted that young Amanita Mushrooms, a highly poisonous species, can also be misidentified for young Puffball Mushrooms.
Anytime you harvest any mushrooms, you should always ask an experienced forager and cross-reference mushroom ID materials to ensure that they are edible. Even experienced mushroom foragers have made mistakes so it’s important to do your homework before you eat any mushroom. Check out this video below to see edible vs nonedible Puffballs.
Once you have correctly identified that your mushroom is a Puffball, you then want to be sure that it is in the right stage of its growth cycle for eating. Grocycle notes that you want to only eat the young Puffballs. You can identify them because they should be completely white and have no evidence of spores inside. To investigate, slice the mushroom down the middle. If it’s mature, it will begin to brown and have spores in its center.
Harvesting Puffball Mushrooms
Once you have confirmed that you have identified the correct mushroom species, it is time to harvest! Start by looking at the color of its surface which will be white all over. If there is any evidence of yellow or green coloration, it is a sign that it is too mature so don’t bother with it. Also, try pressing the mushroom with your finger. It shouldn’t feel too soft, but rather it should be firm.
Now it’s time to slice it in the middle to check the coloration on the inside. If it is creamy white throughout then you have got yourself a good Puffball Mushroom and you can begin collecting the surrounding mushrooms. Mushroom gills or colors other than white point to it being a different mushroom species. If your mushroom has spores, leave it there and stomp on it to spread the spores. Come back in a week or two to collect the new bounty.
Generally, you do not eat the mushroom base so it can be trimmed and tossed aside. These often have a hard, woody texture and are not good for eating. Inspect the mushrooms for bugs such as worms or larvae. Do you notice any holes or tunnels on its skin? If you do, it may be a sign of an infestation and it’s best to either cut it out or not eat the mushroom.
Storing and Cleaning Puffball Mushrooms
Once you have gathered your mushrooms, it is time to clean them. To do this, choose to either cut away the outer skin entirely or simply brush and clean them under the water tap. However! If you don’t plan to use the mushrooms right away, it is best to leave the skin on in order to keep the mushrooms fresh.
Be sure to refrigerate them right away otherwise, like other mushrooms, can become smelly quite quickly. For longer-term storage, you can also keep them in the freezer or dehydrate them.
Classic Fried Puffballs
This recipe comes to you from Forager Chef.
- Fresh Puffball Mushrooms
- High Heat Cooking Oil
- Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1.5 cups All Purpose Flour
- 3 Large Eggs
- 1.5 tsp finely ground Kosher Salt
- ½ tsp Ground Black Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 225 F.
- Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl.
- In a separate large bowl or pan, beat the eggs.
- Use a third bowl for the Panko Bread Crumbs.
- Slice the root of the Puffball off and inspect it for insect infestations or discoloration. The puffball should be perfectly white, not yellow or green.
- Using a sharp knife, begin to slice the mushroom into ½ inch thick slices. Then heavily coat the mushroom slices in the flour and salt mixture before tapping off the excess and dipping them in the eggs. After, coat them in the Panko Bread Crumbs.
- Heat a generous amount of oil in a pan and when sizzling hot, add the coated Puffballs and cook them until they are golden brown on eat side. If the pan goes dry, you didn’t use enough oil and so add a little bit more. Think of this as a mini-deep fryer.
- Once golden brown, place the fried mushrooms onto a cookie sheet and place it in the oven with a resting rack for a few minutes more to make them crispy.
- Serve immediately with optional toppings such as arugula, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Puffball Mushrooms have a mild flavor similar to tofu or even a mild cheese. As you most likely have found them in the wild, it’s important to know when to eat Puffballs and ensure that you have correctly identified them. Once you’ve harvested and cleaned them, they are ready to be stored or cooked in a variety of tasty recipes such as our Classic Fried Puffballs.
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.