We’ve been having a lot of fun exploring the various mushrooms and fungi available in our area, some times as close as our own back yard. For example, we are currently experiencing an explosion of Lycoperdon perlatus along the trail from the workshop to the lower garden area.
Although we have seen these edible mushrooms many times over the past few months, it has only been in small clusters of maybe 2 or 3 or at the most a half-dozen at a time. Not in the hundreds, if not thousands, that we are currently finding.
We have eaten puffball mushrooms many times in the past, but not this particular species. We’re more familiar with the giant prairie puffballs common in parts of Texas, having gathered these many times by the five gallon bucketful while living there. But small as the perlatus are, if they are available by the hundreds, it seems to me that they are worth picking and preparing, so I did.
Here is a closeup of one of the clumps I picked yesterday afternoon. These are still on the small side – maybe 3/4 of an inch across on the larger ones, but they are solid, pure white on the inside and absolutely clear of insect damage, except for the occasional slug bite. (Yes, slugs love mushrooms, too!) You can see the brown, grainy studs on the cap that are a trait of this species. They come off really easily, and are often mostly gone by the time the puffball is mature. I rubbed the mushrooms together gently in water to loosen and remove most of them before cooking.
Here is a picture of a perlatus puffball sliced through the middle to show the complete lack of internal structure that is common to puffballs. If it has a stem and a cap and gills showing, it is NOT a puffball and shouldn’t be eaten without being absolutely certain of an id.
The finished product- cleaned, trimmed mushrooms in a saucepan with butter, about to be sauteed for tasting and for storing in the freezer for a treat later!