Saturday, October 15, 2005

A Hobbitty little blessing.

A couple of days ago, Rich came to me, "Come see something."
"Is it something that will make me feel bad about myself?" (Sometimes he shows me things that make it evident I haven't been doing my job, but usually he doesn't care about that; I'm the one that feels guilty about it.)
"What? No,of course not, silly. Just come see."

We walked to the front door and this is what we saw on our front yard:

Puffballs! Now, while Rich was at prep school, Euell Gibbons came in and speak several times to his class. Gibbons imparted Very Important Knowledge about wild edibles to those kids and Rich never forgot it. But I reminded Rich on one tiny thing:

"Didn't Euell Gibbons die of stomach cancer?"
(clearing throat)"Well, yes, he did." He got on the Web and did a little research just to make sure he wasn't about to murder his family, and this is what he found:

Description: Depending on their size, puffballs have been mistaken at a distance for everything from golf balls to sheep.

These round or pear-shaped mushrooms are almost always whitish, tan or gray and have no stalks. The interior of a puffball is solid white at first, gradually turning yellow, then brown as the mushroom ages. Finally, the interior changes to a mass of dark, powdery spores, Size: 1" to 12" in diameter, sometimes larger.

When and Where: Late summer and fall; in lawns, open woods, pastures, barren areas. On soil or decaying wood.

Cautions: Each puffball should be sliced from top to bottom and the interior examined. It should be completely white and featureless inside, like a slice of white bread. There should be no trace of yellow or brown (which will spoil the flavor) and especially no sign of a developing mushroom with a stalk, gills and cap (see page 9). Amanitas, when young, can resemble small puffballs, but cutting them open will quickly resolve the question.

Cooking Hints: Remove outer skin if it is tough, then slice, dip in batter and fry.

Here's a close up of what Rich picked:

We cut it open, and sure enough, the little pear-shaped thing with no real stem, looking like a tiny tan balloon, was white and uniform all the way through, just like a slice of Wonder Bread, or a marshmallow. So, we are going to try these, batter-fried. If you never hear from me again, watch the news reports.


Blogger The Clinging Vine said...


Did you fry them? And actually eat them?

Or did you chicken out like a rational person? ;^)

8:16 AM  

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