Michigan is a foragers paradise!
In the early autumn you may find these mushrooms under foot and possibly in tree; the Bolete Mushroom, “sulphur shelf,Chicken of the woods or chicken” -Laetiporus, Chanterelle’s, Hedgehog, “Hen of the Woods”- Grifola, Lions Mane, Shaggy Mane Mushrooms and the Giant Puffball just to name a few.
FACT: Michigan has over 2000 species of wild mushrooms!
I would like to bring attention to Calvatia Gigantea…The giant puffball.
The puffball is a very easy fungi to Identify for the beginner and pretty hard to miss with old eyes!
It has no stem, and does not grow in trees. The outer most shell is off white in color and can grow very large in a round”ish shape. No gills, spores, or off white and yellow colors should be present.
Inside should be firm and white. If it is starting to get dry and spongy simply let it be.
If you are not certain simply cut the puffball open.
It should be white and flesh firm.
If it is not…Leave it be and let nature run its course, animals will feast on it until it is no more or it will dry and release its TRILLIONS of spores after it has dried completely in hopes of spreading next years bounty.
Just like in my picture, many creatures both big and small utilize this wild food resource. Woodland slugs, Turkeys, deer and even bears will dine on this tasty treat.
Here is my favorite way to eat the puffball…
I like to harvest them when they are about 10-12″ in diameter and completely firm on the inside
Inspect, wash and rinse the giant mushroom
Cut in 1″ slices/discs
Then cut the round discs into 1″strips, dip a egg-wash then dry fry mix. I prefer Drakes…the brand with “the duck”
Deep fry until outside is golden brown
Remove from hot oil and add sea salt and fresh cracked pepper!
Use a dip of ranch or hot sauce if you want…but its definitely not needed!
You can also DRY CURE/ DEHYDRATE them as well!
Cut in 3/8″ thick strips and marinate in a soy or teriyaki sauce for 4 hours. Then place in dehydrator or in an oven on a rack at its lowest setting keeping the oven door cracked for circulation
You will know when they are completly dry. They should be dry and crispy like a cracker and break. If they bend…they are not dry and you risk mold or worse!
Remember..you can not OVER-DRY something. Better safe than sorry!
Please be safe when you practice ANY wild foraging at any time
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It’s the back to basics that we need to share again and OWA covers that and more, I can see the support growing, so much knowledge.