Foragers and chefs alike can’t get enough of giant puffball mushrooms.
The aptly-named giant puffball mushroom or Calvatia gigantea is common in Canada and parts of the U.S., like the midwest. The fungi range from golf ball to watermelon-sized. You can usually spot the large, pale puffballs around meadows, below stands of trees and on rotten wood. These edible mushrooms tend to absorb seasoning and flavor like tofu. Now, they’ve become popular on TikTok with some very mixed results.
What are giant puffball mushrooms?
Giant puffball mushrooms are large, round white mushrooms that can grow from eight to 20 inches wide and can weigh 25 pounds or more. Puffballs tend to appear from May to October in the central and eastern U.S. and Canada. The puffball is full of as many as seven trillion spores. When the spores are carried by the wind, the puffballs can sprout almost anywhere.
The outside is thick, soft and smooth while the inside has a marshmallow-like texture. People describe the taste of giant puffball mushrooms as either flavorless or earthy and nutty.
Giant puffball mushrooms on TikTok
Foraging, or gathering food from nature, became popularized on TikTok during the pandemic. Foragers began spreading the gospel of giant puffball mushrooms which eventually caught on with home chefs and users on the app. The hashtag #puffballmushroom currently has 44 million views while #puffball has 57.1 million views. Now people are experimenting with the polarizing mushroom.
TikToker Carleigh Bodrug foraged some giant puffballs with her dad from a forest. She tried preparing the puffball in two ways to figure out the best way to eat it. She found braising it in butter to be rubbery, but breading it and tossing it with buffalo sauce was declared “puffball perfection.”
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