Found some baby puffballs today so I thought I’d share about puffball identification. They’re easy to identify, which makes them a good beginner mushroom to hunt, but you have to follow some guidelines.
READ THIS VERY CAREFULLY!
First off, the ones most people find are the small puffballs, or “pear shaped puffballs” (because they look like little pears stuck stem-down on the wood) which are usually always in a colony, and always found on dead wood. Are the maybe-puffballs on dead wood? Then move on to the next step in identification. It helps if you find them next to mature “puffing” puffballs, that will likely mean what you are identifying is in fact an edible puffball.
Does it look like this?
Don’t eat it, thats an earthstar. Does it have little legs attaching it to the log like this?
Don’t eat it, thats an earthstar. Does it have a think rind that’s difficult to break or cut open? Don’t eat it, thats a Pigskin Poison Puffball.
Next, take one of the maybe-puffballs, and cut it open. If it’s a puffball then it’s going to be PURE WHITE inside and not have GILLS or a STEM that detaches. This next image shows a baby amanita which can often be confused for a puffball and is VERY TOXIC.
This next image shows gills in a cross section of an Amanita virosa. If you poke around inside and see anything like gills DON’T EAT IT.
If there are no gills and no stem, and the inside is pure white, not yellowish, not bluish, not brownish, but PURE WHITE, then congrats you found a bunch of yummy puffballs.
ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO is to check EVERY puffball you gather to make sure no poisonous toadstools were growing in with the colony.
Puffballs are pretty strong raw but great sautéed with butter and onions. These last photos are edible puffballs.