The Hunt: Harvesting, Cooking and Eating a Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom

The other day I went on a hunt in a local conservation area. I harvested, cooked and ate some of a Giant Puffball Calvatia gigantea. These are choice mushrooms, and considered highly edible when still white and firm.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
Giant Puffball, with characteristically cratered surface.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
This Giant Puffball shows the characteristically cratered surface, along with an almost bi-lobed body.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I pulled a Giant Puffball out of the ground, and you can see the very small 'root' that provides nutrition to it. This was about as thick as a graphite pencil.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
Carrying the Giant Puffball was surprisingly tricky. I didn't want to dent it, and at the same time, the weight of it began to make my arm sore. I mean, it wasn't probably more than 5 pounds, but it was bulky.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I put it on the cutting board, took out the frying pan and stared at the rounded beast before me for a few moments.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I started by removing the base. You can see the base interior beginning to turn brown - the eventual state of this Giant Puffball is a big powdery, dry, dark brown crusty ball, emitting spores into the wind as it crumbles into pieces.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I pared away some of the skin and harvested out the white, firm flesh.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
Here is a closeup of the marshmallow-like texture. It was cool to the touch, because of the moisture contained within the tissue.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I skinned the beast.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I cut it up into bread slice thickness.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I noticed quickly that I had way too much to consume by myself, and ended up giving some to my neighbour.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I dredged it in flour, salt and black pepper.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I shook off the dredging powder and laid the pieces aside. I was wondering what it would taste like, but soldiered on.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
Soon a rich scent filled the kitchen - and the mushroom began to resemble chicken strips.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
It smelled glorious. It didn't smell like normal button mushrooms, more like - well, more like chicken and zucchini.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
Into the frying pan, I put a little bit of olive oil, and butter. Once it was hot, I laid the strips of the Giant Puffball onto the pan. It sizzled.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I put it onto a plate, and gobbled it all down. It was amazing. I am going to do this again soon, and highly recommend that every single person reading this post, who lives near Giant Puffball mushrooms, immediately go out, harvest, cook and eat some.

Cheers,

Mungo

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