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Puffball season again

August 6, 2010

Walking the dogs yesterday, we came upon something in the grass which had not been there the last time we went that way. It was white. It was bigger than a football. It could only be…a giant puffball.

Stumbling across one of these phenomena always feels a bit of a thrill. They are just too big to be normal, a bit like the mushroom that grew on the asteroid in Tintin’s adventure of ‘The Shooting Star’.

When we got closer, we saw that there were two: no, three; the smallest (about the size of a cantaloupe melon) was hidden behind the second. The one at the front is just huge. It seems to be two that have fused to make something that looks more like a rather shy, sweet animal than a fungus. An albino wombat, perhaps. We just had to give it a pat.

Leaving the ‘wombat’ to its own devices, we picked the melon-sized one instead and had it for lunch, with bacon, chopped parsley from the garden, a squeeze of lemon,

and our favourite Orkney oatcakes. To be honest, we didn’t think that this puffball had a particularly noticeable flavour,

but it certainly combined extremely well with the bacon to make a good simple lunch. And you can’t beat the satisfaction of foraged food.

See also: How to cook a giant puffball; foraging is fun

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2010 9:40 pm

    They are extraordinary aren’t they? I always think they look quite alien, and I love the “wombat” one!! I’ve never tasted them but my neighbours had some in their garden – they joked that they expected to find me sitting on it as apparently I resemble a pixie! LOL! Shall I send you food parcels of oatcakes 😉

  2. August 6, 2010 10:16 pm

    I didn’t know puffballs could get that big. The largest one I’ve ever found is about the size of a baseball.

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      August 7, 2010 12:18 am

      Luckily, Sian, we can get Stockan & Garden oatcakes even in the wilds of Perthshire! Otherwise I’d be sorely tempted to take up your offer of food parcels… 🙂

      Bonnie, there are several different kinds of puffball, not all of which are edible. I don’t know if you would have this variety. The giant puffball looks like nothing else, so it’s one of the few varieties of mushroom which I am prepared to pick in the wild. This is the biggest specimen I’ve seen to date.

  3. August 7, 2010 8:02 pm

    YUM! What a feast for LUNCH!!! I haven’t found any giant puffballs here but do love to fill a basket with chanterelles!

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      August 8, 2010 3:38 pm

      Now that sounds even better. I’ve never found chanterelles here, but I live in hope…

  4. August 10, 2010 10:00 am

    There is something so romantic about foraging for your own mushrooms I always think! Once saw a River Cottage episode in which Hugh F-W found a massive puffball which he then stuffed with other mixed wild mushrooms and wild garlic, wrapped in foil and baked in the oven then cut into slices as though it was a pie, a family dinner created from food he’s found in the woods surround his house!

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      August 10, 2010 7:27 pm

      That sounds fantastic. I do agree that there is a romance to ‘wild’ food. Don’t think we could make that combination here as the wild garlic is over before the puffballs appear. The elderberries will be ripe soon though, and I discovered plenty of uses for them in pies last year – yum.

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