Foraging Puffball Mushrooms Is Family Fun, Carefully

Did you know that there are dozens of tasty edible puffball mushroom species and that they’re super easy to identify?

They’re also very easy to find when you know what you’re looking for and they’re free when you forage for them! 

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to foraging puffball mushrooms for you!


How To Identify Puffball Mushrooms

A lot of mushrooms look like puffballs, including some poisonous species, particularly when they’re small.

However, if you want to check whether a mushroom is a puffball, you just slice through it and if it’s all white (no gills forming at all) then you know that you have a puffball on your hands!

Yes, it’s that easy. 

It’s important that you stick to this criteria though. 

puffball mushroom

White and no gills. If you find another color – it’s a poisonous puffball (black is particularly toxic). If you find gills, it’s not a puffball and may or may not be toxic.

A puffball that is yellow/green inside is no longer edible as it is in the process of turning its body into spores. This is good news for the future as it means you can come back to this spot and there will be fresh mushrooms nearby in a few weeks. 

If you do open a yellow or green puffball, just crush it beneath your heel when you’re done as this will help release the spores. 

In fact, feel free to jump up and down on the whole patch and help the spores disperse properly (it’s quite a lot of fun – that “popping sound” is a bit like bubble wrap). 


How Do You Prepare A Puffball Mushroom?

You don’t have to peel puffball mushrooms but most people do because it can be a bit chewy when cooked. 

We don’t because we don’t mind the texture and peeling puffballs is a proper pain that we can live without but feel free if you want to do it.

sliced puffball mushrppm

You can then slice and dice them and use them in the same way as you’d use a button mushroom or white mushroom in your cooking or look up a recipe unique to the puffball that you have!

If you’re not going to eat a puffball immediately, refrigerate it because they spoil super quickly at room temperature. 


Warning: Puffball Mushrooms

As with all mushrooms, puffballs can be super tasty and yet, some of them can also be very poisonous. 

You must never eat a mushroom unless you are 100% certain that it’s been properly identified. 

If you are identifying the mushroom make sure to use multiple sources and consult an expert if any doubt. 


Final Thoughts On Foraging Puffball Mushrooms

If you’d like to know more about foraging then you might find our guide to foraging 101 helpful and you may also enjoy learning about edible weeds and edible forest gardens.

3 Comments

  1. I was taught how to identify puffballs by my Dad who loved them. He was a logger over half of his adult life and often brought home edibles he found in the woods. Not just puffballs but wild garlic chives, cattail roots, wild plantains, and twice wild honey from hive trees he found. For the record, he didn’t cut the trees down or destroy the hive, he just took half the fresh honey after he put the bees to sleep with the exhaust from his chainsaw. And he never raided a hive if it was Sept. or later in the year; he didn’t want the hive to starve or die. After his retirement, we started mushrooming together and he was deliriously happy to find straw mushrooms growing on the old hay under our sheep barn and puffballs all over the pasture.

  2. Oh, by the way, we once found a puffball almost fifteen inches across. That night we had thick puffball steaks on the grill with garlic butter drizzle!

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