It's that wonderful time of year! PUFFBALLS! And you thought they were just for kicking, didn't you! Oh, woe betide anyone who would consider such a dastardly deed! This, dear friends, is an epicurean delight!
Puffballs are 100% edible, providing you eat them when there is absolutely no brown whatsoever when you cut them open. In the last day and a half, I have harvested perhaps five pounds of these beauties, and after sauteing in butter, have popped them into the freezer for later use. Talk about delicious! Oh, my! And so "meaty!" That's a quarter in the photo above (and I am using an old photo since I cannot download images until after my computer man visits me tomorrow)...
I've never figured out the paramenters for finding them. I simply stumble upon them out in the grazed pastures. When I find one, I am usually in a mini-patch of them. I simply take long walks with the dog, basket in hand, and gather as many as I can find. Today's harvest brought three that were each 4 inches in diameter.
Take a brush, prior to peeling and get as much dirt off the rootend as possible before cutting and discarding it. (If you don't take this step, the dirt gets into the "meat" and it's challenging to remove it. Next, having brushed it thoroughly, cut as low as you can toward the root end, making sure there is no color other than PURE white--to remove the root. If you do encounter color, keep cutting off the root end until you see no color. If you find the puffball to be fairly moist, and a yellow-ish center, discard it. If there is lots of brown and the color continues to the top, throw the puffball away, but in a spot where the spores will propogate. Don't throw it in the trash! You're wasting those spores if you do.
Once you've cut off the root end sufficiently, peel the puffball with a potato peeler. Then, slice it into small pieces, melt butter in skillet, saute, and add to any dish which calls for mushrooms, or freeze it for another day.