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

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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