Rick Giesbrecht at Downtown Service found this giant puffball while out dirt biking, above on the west side of the city above the Williams Lake River Valley. Puffballs this size are likely in no condition to be eaten, but small ones in pristine condition can be eaten.

Giant puffball raises curiosity of finder

With the wet summer we have been having mushrooms of all sizes are in their glory this year.

With the wet summer we have been having mushrooms of all sizes are in their glory this year.

Rick Giesbrecht at Downtown Service found this giant puffball while out dirt biking in early June.

After riding the trails in the Williams Lake River Valley he came across two giant puffballs in a clearing near the tower above the valley on the west side of the city.

Curious, he went back with a friend on a two-seater, side by side three days later and they collected the smaller of the two giant white puffballs. The larger of the pair had already begun to disintegrate.

The one he brought back to his shop weighed about 17 pounds and measured about 15 inches tall and 20 inches across.

“I didn’t know what I had at first,” Giesbrecht said.

After talking with customers, he learned that it was a puffball mushroom and perfectly edible but should be completely white throughout, with no sign of yellow or other decay.

And like many vegetables the flavour is better when they are smaller, as one customer told him, no bigger than grapefruit size.

Giesbrecht says he plans to check out the site again next year to see what puffballs are growing there, but he wouldn’t eat anything wild without knowing it is safe to eat.

As for this year’s curiosity, he said it rotted away leaving quite a stench.

According to Wikipedia, and other mushroom picker sites the Calvatia gigantea (giant mushrooms) are edible when they are young, but you should always slice open a puffball lengthwise that you intend to eat and check the inside.

The puffball should have firm white flesh, with no developing gills.

If you see any evidence of gills, disregard it immediately.

Some species, including the deadly amanita, have a “universal veil” of tissue that surrounds the mushroom when it is young, that can make it look like a puffball.

For more information on puffballs check out http://www.mushroom-appreciation.com/puffball-mushroom-identification.html#sthash.Me1H9LNV.dpuf.

Williams Lake Tribune

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