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Langermannia gigantea

Giant Puffball!

The Giant Puffball is probably my favourite wild mushroom. This one was over 40cm across, by no means the biggest I've found.

No experience in mushrooming is quite as much fun as trundling through a wood and unexpectedly finding a large giant puffball!

As long as they're white all the way through, then they're good to eat. By the time they tur yellow, green or black they're really past their best. Slice them and fry them in bacon fat, or dip slices in egg and breadcrumbs before frying.

Lycoperdon pyriforme

Ahhh! The puffballs are coming, the puffballs are coming!

A common species, found on dead wood. To begin with you see lots and lots of tiny little puffballs, which mature into the great big clusters (left) or troops (right) that you see above.

Good eating, as long as they're still white and firm all the way through. I either dry them (sliced thinly) or put them in with mixed mushroom dishes like pate or soup.

Lycoperdon perlatum

Less giant puffball

One of a number of species of smaller puffballs that you might find on grass or in woodlands. Be sure not to mistake the slightly toxic earthballs for the edible puffballs (easy to tell apart by the dark, earthy colour of the earthballs interior).

This one grows to about 8cm in diameter, but other species ranging between 3.5 and 15 cm are common. Make sure they're white all of the way through before even thinking about eating them.