Yes! I did it! I love the confident feeling of learning something new.
Until yesterday I was sure of two edible mushrooms. Today I am sure of four. My two new delicacies are the Gem-studded puffball and the Pear-shaped puffball. I have a fifth under study.
Before I share this recipe, it’s time for my disclaimer: ALWAYS test for edibility.
When I gather mushrooms, I put each species in a separate paper bag. When I get home, I take them out of the paper bag and begin my visual study.
The mushroom under study right now is the fawn mushroom. I found one on a hike with “Wildman” Steve Brill last month. I have found it twice since, but did not eat it. I just studied the shape, how the gills were attached and the stem. “Wildman” has made replicas out of Sculpey – which is an excellent way to improve observation skills. It’s also fun.
I am cautious enough to consult other mushroom identification guides, but “Wildman” has the best photos and his sculptures are accurate. I am now making a spore print and when I do sample this mushroom, it will be a piece the size of a green pea.
Sautéed Gem-studded (Lycoperdon perlatum) or Pear-shaped (Lycoperdon pyriforme) mushrooms:
1. Remove mushrooms from paper bag, trim dirt and wipe with a cloth or paper towel
2. Do not wash or immerse in water. Do not salt. That makes the mushrooms tough
3. Cut the larger mushrooms into bite-size pieces
4. Coat with olive oil and one-half teaspoon of lemon or lime juice
5. Set pan over low heat, then add coated puffball mushrooms
6. Cook until tender
Puffballs are fragrant when picked and they do have a distinct flavor, but it is delicate. I enjoyed it as a simple side dish.