Time to explore some new territory today. Take a break from my harvest of fragrant Wild Ginger and check out some local woods closer to Dundas.
Nothing particularly exiting in the first hour and a half. Confirming some varieties of Goldenrod that will only share their family secret through their unmistakable fragrance. Leaves, and flowers just not what we expect Goldenrod to present. White flowers?? Heart shaped leaves?? Always something new to learn. Thank goodness! Not till I crossed the road and started exploring the South side of the ravine was I given a leap of heart and rush of exitement. A puffball the size of a basketball or larger had been kicked and cleanly cleft it two. Must have been an irresistable visual association! Lucky for me it was not only clean cut and in two perfect pieces , but firm, snow white and in perfect condition for the table. They don’t last indefinately. Sometimes it is only a matter of a few days from their emergence from the ground, tight and firm, to becoming powdery or discolored and completely inedible.
Any mushroom hunter worth their butter and pepper knows that once you find one mushroom something quite mystical and inexplicable happens. You “tune in” to that particular species of “shroom”, almost become one with it, and more likely than not, with little or no effort more mushrooms are simply revealed to you. And so it was. Within 15 minutes I found one more basketbal sized slightly skimmed or grazed on top and two perfect 3 pound babies about 8″ across. What a bounty to carry home to the kitchen!!
Never forget that the larger your bounty from the woods, the longer you are going to spend in the kitchen honoring the gifts and making the most of them. Washing, scrubbing, pots, pans, plates, then washing, scrubbing, pots, pans plates, lots of prep work and lots of cleanup, but worth every minute when you see the enjoyment, surprise and awe at the table. You found this where?? This is a mushroom?? Etc. very gratifying to ones ego :-).
So how to make the most of such a catch?
Eat some, refrigerate leftovers, but all the rest must be frozen and that means partially cooking them, cooling them down in the fridge and trying to pack the tender meat as airtight as possible.
I have heard it is possible to dry them for future use, but can’t say I have yet.
So cubed, rolled in flour, fried and frozen.
Slabbed to 1/2″ rolled in flour, dipped in egg mix, then breaded and frozen.
I soaked them in water before dusting them in flour, hoping the extra moisture would repel frying oil from saturating them. Seemed to work.
I also added powderd Porcini mushroom and a Porcini tincture I had recently made, to impart a more ” mushroomy” flavor. Though Puffballs can offer an abundance of meat and substance to the table, they do lack in that distinguished mushroomy flavor. This trick seemed to work so whether they were cut to 1/2″ or 11/2″, they were crispy on the outside, tender, juicy and flavorful on the inside. Worth the half days work it took to prepare them.

Extra thick


Puffball Harvest (note boot toe for reference)

First run-Cubed and floured.

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