One of my recent guests wrote in his Airbnb review that it was a “mushroom/fungi extravaganza” out on the trails here. Was he ever right–the combination of September and dampness brings ’em out in droves. When he showed me all the pictures on his phone, there were even a couple I hadn’t seen before.
Perhaps the most obvious forest fungi to be found here is the Giant Puffball. While obvious, it is not necessarily plentiful like the smaller mushrooms that dot the forest, and so it comes as a shock to happen upon a volley-ball-sized white sphere emerging from the ground. I can’t help but think of Alien movies where mysterious living blobs grow at will and eventually take over. And grow they do… giant puffballs seem to appear suddenly and grow quickly. From one day to the next, the diameter can easily have increased by an inch or more.
Giant puffballs are perhaps one of the safest wild mushrooms to eat because they are not easily confused (in this area anyhow) with poisonous ones. The most important preparation measure is to slice it open and be sure the flesh is white, uniform and firm, with no hint of spores starting. This one (the same puffball as in the banner image) was perfect and we made a delicious soup with leeks from the garden accompanied by fresh-baked cheddar scones. You’re wondering what it tastes like, eh? Earthy, basically a more intense version of a standard mushroom. Wanna eat on the wild side and try one??? If you are forgaing, remember to be certain in your identification for before eating anything, and always leave at least one in any given puffball patch so they can regrow. Then check out this site for some great puffball recipe ideas