Giant puffball – a great tasting mushroom

Giant puffball

A very interesting and huge puffball fungi, also known as the giant puffball or in Latin Langermannia gigantea = Calvatia gigantea may look scary but it tastes great. You can hunt this mushroom from June to October and you can usually find it growing in grass near pastures and meadows. The typical feature to look for is a white spherical fruiting body. As the mushroom ages, its colour changes from ochre to light brown. It is a really big mushroom, and under ideal conditions (that is if someone will not find it before you) it can reach a width of up to 50 cm and can easily weigh up to 20 kg!

Peridium and gleba

This is how the two parts of a giant puffball are called The outer shell of the mushroom is called Peridium, and the inner part of the mushroom is called Gleba. Peridium is a smooth and strong, but it cracks sometimes. The inner pulp forms a compact, white mass that is soft and flexible (similar to other more common mushrooms). As the mushroom ages, both parts turn brown. Old mushrooms are brown and dry, and when broken they release a lot of spores. Dry fruiting bodies contain up to six trillion spores!

Giant puffball

Photo: Pixabay

Puffball grows fast

If you find a small puffball and you want to wait for it to grow you are in luck. Puffballs grow very quickly so, you may want to wait. Giant puffball can reach full size in as little as nine days. In our part of the world, puffballs are usually breaded (three layers of breading), yes just like schnitzel. However, only collect mushrooms that are still white and without any hint of brown or yellow.

Growing puffballs

If you find an already old fruiting body you cannot consume it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from your find. Put the dusty fruiting body in a bucket of water and mix it well. Pour the mixture at a spot in your garden where you want to grow puffballs. Well, now you need to be patient though – up to a few years, and after that you should see new fruiting bodies….easy, right?

Preview photo: Pixabay

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


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