Oddities — Lanark County Puffball Mushrooms

Oddities — Lanark County Puffball Mushrooms


Photos from the Canadian and Gazette files from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum




Maureen Logan (nee McDonald) and Christy Zavitske McNeely–Photos from the Canadian and Gazette files from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Ben MacRae That’s one giant puff-ball, isn’t it? A large mushroom like growth. I found a few as a kid and mom would dice them up and fry them in butter. So yummy.

Wesley Parsons We would slice the big ones up and fry them like a slice of ham – very delicious…

Linda Seccaspina Was anyone afraid of poisoning??? Just asking..🙂

Krista Lee No,I remember eating puff balls and morels

Ben MacRae No, we all trusted the wisdom of our elders! It wasn’t their first rodeo! lol


The giant puffball, Calvatia gigantea (earlier classified as Lycoperdon giganteum), reaches a foot (30 cm) or more in diameter, and is difficult to mistake for any other fungus. It has been estimated that a large specimen of this fungus when mature will produce around 7 × 10¹² spores. If collected before spores have formed, while the flesh is still white, it may be cooked as slices fried in butter, with a strong earthy, mushroom flavor.

Puffballs are sometimes found in a large circle called a “fairy ring”. Check out the page on fairy rings to learn more about this fun phenomenon.

Giant puffball mushrooms have possible medicinal uses as well. Remember those trillions of spores they produce? The dried spores can slow bleeding if they’re used as a coagulant. They were reportedly used in Native American folk medicine to treat bleeding and prevent infection.

The use of Calvatia gigantea in folk medicine led researchers to to investigate it further. In the 1960’s they isolated the substance calvacin, which was shown to inhibit sarcoma in lab mice. Calvacin is now cited as one of the first substances with antitumor activity isolated from a mushroom

f you are certain you’ve found the right mushroom it should also be the right age. Only the younger, immature giant puffballs are edible. Again make sure the flesh is white and solid. Anything brown, broken, soft, or full of brown, dusty spores is too mature to eat.

Eat puffball mushrooms soon after harvesting as they don’t keep well. You may find them too mushy after freezing and thawing. It is possible to dry and reconstitute them although they may be a little tough.

The most popular way to eat them is to fry in oil with a batter (really good). These mushrooms can be a versatile food item. Some other quick ideas to enjoy them:

  • Sautéed alone or with vegetables.
  • Broiled alone with a marinade or in conjunction with another recipe.
  • Dice them into smaller pieces and stir fry in place of tofu.
  • Use instead of eggplant in any recipe. Giant puffballs are a great replacement for eggplant!
  • Remove the top and hollow out the mushroom into a bowl. Cook the hollowed out pieces with some other ingredients (peppers, spices, whatever you like) and place back into the puffball shell. Wrap the whole thing in foil and bake in the oven, checking on it occasionally to see if it’s done. Delicious!

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  26 Sep 1951, Wed,  Page 3

 - MOUNTAINOUS MUSIUIOOM This ponderous puff-ball,...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  26 Sep 1951, Wed,  Page 3


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)




Beware of the Lanark County Fairy Rings

The Faeries of McArthur Island- Dedicated to the Bagg Children

Did Bad Nutrition Begin with Importing Onions?

Cry Me a Haggis River!

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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