Calvatia gigantea

Common Names: Giant puffball
Category: Fungi
Sub-category: Puffballs

Unlike most mushrooms, all the spores of the giant puffball are created inside the fruiting body; large specimens can easily contain several trillion spores. Most giant puffballs grow to be 3.9 to 28 inches in diameter, although occasionally some can reach diameters up to 59 inches and weights of 44 lbs. The inside of the mature Giant puffballs is greenish brown, whereas the interior of immature puffballs is white.

Found in forests and lawns.

Edible Notes: The large white mushrooms are edible when young. To distinguish giant puffballs from other species, they must be cut open; edible puffballs will have a solid white interior. Some similar mushrooms have the white interior (or yellowish) but also have the silhouette of a cap-type mushroom on the interior when cut open. These are young cap-type mushrooms and may be poisonous. The fruiting body of a puffball mushroom will develop within the period of a few weeks and soon begin to decompose and rot, at which point it is dangerous to eat. The meat of giant puffballs tastes very similar to tofu or melted cheese when cooked. To prepare, remove any brown portions and tough skin, which sometimes peels off easily. Do not soak in anything. Puffballs may be sauteed, broiled, or breaded and fried; they do not dehydrate well, but may be cooked and then frozen.
Warnings: Note that immature puffballs can be confused with deadly amanita species.