Mycobank Taxonomy: Fungi, Dikarya, Basidiomycota, Agaricomycotina, Agaricomycetes, Agaricales, Agaricaceae, Calvatia
Calvatia gigantea is not a good mushroom. It can be so huge, such a massive marshmallow, that I want so badly for it to be tasty. I’ve baked it as pizza crust, sautéed it, and deep fried it as puffball parmesan, but it’s never good. The smaller the ratio of puffball to other things (fried bits, sauce, veggies) the better. I’m no mathematician, but I think if you take that property to it’s limit, the best puffball dish is one that does not contain any puffball at all. In my opinion, this mushroom smells and tastes chemically, like a permanent marker. Chalk it up to bad cooking or subpar specimens, but I would argue that I’m a pretty good cook and that I’ve selected the finest, youngest, whitest, firmest, maggotless puffballs around, but Calvatia gigantea still makes good food taste bad. It’s not a good mushroom.
Regardless of my personal opinions, it is my unpartisan mycological civic duty to give you the resources necessary to find and prepare this mushroom. Fortunately for you, other people find this mushroom tasty – or ignore its taste and eat it in celebration of bounty – and lots of information exists out there on how to locate, dissect, and consume giant puffballs. The best resource I know of is this detailed post by Alan Bergo at foragerchef.com. Reading this page, Alan even makes me want to give them another try.
ACD0221, 12 October 2019; Washtenaw Co., MI, USA; leg. Alden C. Dirks, det. Alden C. Dirks, MICH 352216.
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