This page is used to feature mushrooms that are prevalent for the particular time of the year or, during the winter months, to feature some of the less desirable or hard to find mushrooms. To see some of our previous stars follow this link to an index of previously featured mushrooms.
Mushroom of the Month
The pear-shaped puffball is one of the few puffballs that grow on wood. The puffball can often be found in very large numbers on logs and stumps. I have seen a twenty foot log almost thoroughly covered by these puffballs. Although I don’t favor puffballs because of their consistency, this puffball does have a nice flavor. I have used it in combination with shaggy manes in a cream of mushroom soup. Sliced and sautéed, it goes well in scrambled eggs.
This tan to yellowish brown puffball is pear-shaped to nearly round. It has a pore on top which opens to release spores when the spores mature. The pear-shaped puffball often has a sterile base that resembles a stem. The spore mass (flesh) is white when immature changing to yellow then brown then olive-brown.
Like most puffballs, the pear-shaped puffball is only edible when it is white inside. As soon as the spore mass begins to discolor, the mushroom becomes bitter-tasting. The description of the flavor of puffballs varies widely with different authors. To David Arora it is one of the better flavored puffballs, but is not as good as a “loaf of bread”. Lincoff describes these puffballs as choice edibles. Fisher and Bessette claim that the delicate flavor of these puffballs is delicious. They also claim that when the sterile bases of larger puffballs are cooked separately that they taste remarkably like morels. I’ll have to try that the next time I find a large group of these. I find that with slow sautéing until beginning to brown they have a good flavor. The consistency being that of a marshmallow, turns me off.