Can you eat puffball mushrooms?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “ can you eat puffball mushrooms?”. We will look at what puffball mushrooms are, how to identify edible puffballs, the safety of consuming them, how to prepare, cook and store puffballs and more.

Can you eat puffball mushrooms?

Yes, you can eat puffball mushroom when it comes in handy. However, extra caution must be taken to identify them as edible because not all puffball mushrooms are edible and not all puffballs are edible at each stage of development.

What are puffball mushrooms?

Puffball mushrooms belonging to Calvatia, Bovista, and other genera are delicious wild food. Puffball mushrooms are divided into several genera, the majority of which are tiny, measuring 3 inches or less. However, there is also one edible giant puffball which can grow up to one foot in diameter. 

However, they have some extremely toxic look-alikes, such as young destroying angels and death cap mushrooms, which should be avoided. Edible puffball mushrooms can be easily recognized with a little investigation based on some traits and are also found in many meadows and forests. 

How to identify an edible puffball mushroom?

There is one critical and distinguishing feature that will help you differentiate the puffball mushroom from its dangerous look alike. 

  • The easiest way to identify if it is a puffball mushroom is by cutting the mushroom in half from the top of the cap to the bottom. 
  • The interior of the edible puffball mushrooms should be solid and pure white like marshmallows or fresh mozzarella balls. 
  • There should be no patterning, marks, or colours, as well as nothing on the inside but pure white, and no evidence of gills. 
  • If there are any gills on the mushroom, then it is not a puffball mushroom.
  • The flavour of puffballs is mildly mushroomy and earthy, according to some. 

Is it safe to eat puffball mushrooms?

It is safe and healthy to eat puffballs and not worry about anything. However, It is crucial to note that not all puffballs are edible, and not all puffballs are edible at each stage of development. 

If you follow the guideline to identifying edible puffballs of pure white inside with no marks or gills, then you will only be eating edible and safe puffballs.

For example, the warted Puffball Mushroom (Lycoperdon pyriforme) is only edible while young, before the caps turn brown. 

How to prepare mushroom puffballs?

It is important to ensure your puffball mushrooms are free of dirt or germs before using them to cook. However, washing the interior of the mushroom is not recommended since it will absorb water like a sponge and get mushy. If you are concerned about dirt or germs, it is highly recommended that you peel the skin off and have it safe to cook instead.

What are the culinary uses of puffball mushrooms?

Puffball mushrooms are a great addition to several recipes. However, you must thoroughly cook them before you consume them. The common ways of cooking the mushrooms is by roasting, baking, boiling, or frying in butter. 

  • They can be substituted for store-bought or regular mushrooms in a variety of dishes.
  • Also,  puffball mushrooms can also be used in place of eggplant. 
  • Puffball mushrooms have a texture similar to tofu, thus they are a perfect addition to a stir fry
  • They can be used as a meat substitute in burgers. 

How to store puffball mushrooms?

Puffball mushrooms can be stored if they are not consumed immediately after picking. However, if you store them under normal storage, they will spoil rapidly. You can store puffball mushrooms by slicing and packing them in air tight bags to be kept frozen or dried to prolong their shelf life. 

What is the health benefit of eating puffball mushrooms?

Little is known about the nutritional and health benefits of many wild foods. However, eating puffballs may have one significant health benefit. 

The puffball members of the Calvatia genus contain a chemical called calvacin which possesses antitumor activity and its frequent intake may be able to prevent malignancies.

What are the risks of eating puffball mushrooms?

Consuming the edible puffball mushrooms will not pose any risk, however, if they are not properly identified and mistaken for their look alike, then great harm would be done. 

You risk becoming fatally ill if you consume a mushroom from the Amanita genus, particularly the destroying angel known as Amanita bisporigera, ocreata, or virosa or the Death cap (Amanita phalloides). 

The members of the Amanita genus are responsible for the majority of deadly fungi-caused foraging accidents.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have answered the question “ can you eat puffball mushrooms?”. We have looked at what puffball mushrooms are, how to identify edible puffballs, the safety of consuming them, how to prepare, cook and store puffballs and more.

Citation

https://www.insider.com/guides/kitchen/puffball-mushroom

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.