I know its fall when the Puff’rooms come out. Also called a puff ball mushroom, they are the big puffy looking mushrooms in lawns and mown fields. They seem to pop out over night.
You need to get them while they are cream to light tan colored. If the outside is very white, almost beautiful, and you’re new to mushroom foraging – leave it alone, it might be a toxic Amanita. If it is too brown, it’s likely too old.
Also, you do not want to pick them, or any mushroom for that matter, if they are growing too close to the road. Mushrooms are very much a product of their environment, and you don’t want to essentially be eating the run off from the roads (eww!)
You should also be cautious about foraging for morel mushrooms in old apple orchards where pesticides were used. Lots of pesticides are persistent and stay in the soil for years, and morels are the best heavy metal absorbers in the mushroom world.
But I digress.
Best way to tell a good eating puffroom is to cut it open. If the flesh is firm-spongy solid white – well, hot dog!
You can substitute puffroom flesh in any recipe that calls for eggplant or tofu. It’s good sauteed with onions in an omelet or any egg dish. And of course, you can use it in any recipe that calls for mushrooms. Some peel the outer layer off, I usually do not.
Here’s a recipe that actually uses the mushroom flesh as the crust for pizza (I’ve tried this and it is fantastic!)
Puff’rooms do not keep well, so use it the day you pick it. If you’re not going to use it that day, they can be dehydrated or frozen, but I like the fresh-picked texture best.
I have no idea why, but puff’rooms just make me happy to be alive!