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Monday, 25 August 2014

Foragers Diary; Foraged Foods You'll Never Get Wrong #1

Giant Puffball;

A giant puffball harvested last Friday, in the foreground are some shaggy parasol that I found the same day. 
The sheer size of the giant puffball makes it a hard one to mistake, anywhere up to the size of a basket ball, and on occasion larger. Creamy white on the outside with no discernible stalk or stem, although it does taper slightly where it meets the ground. 

As with any fungi you need to be quick if you are to find them in the peak of condition, the slugs will see to it that there is not much left to find and puff balls soon transform from the creamy white shown below to a yellowish sludge or a mass of spores. 

This puffball is in perfect condition for eating, any that are yellow inside or have turned to spores should be avoided.

A recipe that you could try with puffball is something I had for dinner today, stuffed puffball;

One large puffball
300gs (ish) of venison, pigeon etc.. (something fairly rich)
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 small courgette
Any other herbs, spices, leftover veg or meat that you fancy. I put broad-beans in mine today which worked quite well. 

Cut the top of your puffball and scoop out the middle, leave the outer shell of the 'shroom' with a good centimetre or two on all sides and cut the centre into small cubes. Cut up the other ingredients to match the size of the cubed puff ball and fry the mixture until the meat is cooked and all the vegetables are tender. I quite often add some soy sauce to this mixture. Spoon this cooked mixture back into the shell of the puffball and bake, for one about the size of the one in the picture above forty minutes should do it.

There are of course other types of puff ball, most of which are edible, but as with any fungi (or any wild food at all for that matter) be absolutely sure what it is before you eat it, or feed it to your family. 

An interesting relation to the puffball is the aptly named earth star; 

this ones not edible though

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