This is what I found on my walk today. Well, the puffball anyway. The other mushroom and the dandelion greens I found in the lawn when I got home, and the chickweed was growing in a pot plant.

The puffball was a real treat and in almost perfect condition. It was sitting on the side of the path – someone had probably kicked it out of the way. I see this so often, puffballs in particular. There’s something attractive about kicking them I suppose, and I might too if I didn’t understand what a great food they are. With this one at least, it wasn’t broken, and I spotted a much larger and older puffball a few feet away that was too far gone to eat.

I’ve only been eating wild mushrooms for a year or so (other than field mushrooms of course). I’m comfortable about eating puffballs but am still learning about the species. Because of its proximity to the spent one I think the one I found today is the Giant Puffball, Calvatia gigantea even though it’s not very big.

(looking at further references, there are a number of Latin names in NZ being used for the Giant Puffball. Three according to Landcare.)

I’ve eaten them young like this before but didn’t realise they were the giant variety. You can see the big ones when old half-way down this post, and when perfect for eating in this post.

If you’re going to eat a puffball, it needs to look like this inside. Nice and firm, and white.

Puffball scrambled eggs

* slice the puffball and cut small enough to do well in the eggs

* fry in butter until golden on both sides

* add other frying ingredients – in this case garlic, but tomato would be nice too

* beat a couple of eggs with a pinch of salt

* pour over the ‘shrooms, add diced dandelion leaves, and scramble

* serve with chopped chickweed dressed in olive oil, herb vinegar and salt

That used up half the puffball so I sliced the other half in varying thicknesses and fried both sides. When it had cooled I ate it with avocado. Puffballs have a subtle flavour although certainly mushroomy. The ones I ate with the avo had a honey taste, not sweet. Maybe the frying in butter brings that out. The texture is tender.

(the other mushroom in the picture at the top of the post is as yet unidentified…)