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Tasty puffball mushrooms popping up in southern BC Interior

This puffball mushroom was found growing on a property in the Shuswap.
This puffball mushroom was found growing on a property in the Shuswap.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Laurie Hawley

Giant white mushrooms are landing in the pans of some foodies and foragers in Kamloops and the Okanagan after a long, cool spring.

Puffball mushrooms emerge after a rain shower and are often fried up with garlic and sprinkled with parmesan.

“Most people find them after it rains, they pop up and grow huge all in one day,” said Shuswap resident Laurie Hawley who has been picking and eating the mushrooms for several years.

She found a giant puffball mushroom roughly a foot wide earlier this week and fried some of it up while the rest went into a soup.

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It looked a bit different than the usual round ones she finds. 

“I’ve never had one that looks like this before, it appears to have grown in four segments,” she said. “As if it started growing, paused and then grew some more. Lots of it had to be chopped away because there were older parts in it.”

Hawley said the mushrooms have a mild flavour and therefore are often added to other more flavourful ingredients, and they are best eaten fresh.

“You eat them when they are new and white, preferably the same day they pop out of the ground,” she said.

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At least two kinds of edible puffball mushrooms grow in BC, the common puffball and the western giant puffball, according to Healing Mushrooms' guide to mushrooms in BC. They can be found in open grassy areas and meadows. 

Anyone wishing to eat one should slice it vertically and inspect the interior first to ensure it’s white and homogenous, otherwise it could have gone to spore and is therefore no longer edible or it could belong to a poisonous puffball species.

Go here for puffball mushroom recipes.

WARNING: Some wild mushroom varieties can cause serious adverse health effects and even death. Go here for more details.

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