The Puffball is not a mushroom to be actively foraged as they can be very temperamental about which spots they choose to grow but they are brilliantly delightful to stumble across on walks or foraging trips.
One of the safest mushrooms to forage for beginners is the Giant Puffball. They can appear out of nowhere and be the size of a football in the grass, but don’t try to kick it, they are delicious. Unfortunately, slugs and bugs love them as much as people so finding an edible Giant Puffball is very rare.
July to November
Puffballs have no cap, stem, or gills. Before foraging any Puffballs it is important to know what you’re looking for as there are poisonous mushrooms that can be mistaken for puffballs when young. When you cut a Puffball in half it should be hard and consistently white. If you see any gills or other colours like brown, black, or purple you should discard them.
When Puffballs start to mature they are too far gone to eat. If you see that the centre of the mushroom mass has turned green or yellow it’s a sign that it is too mature to eat.
You will often find Puffballs in places that have good fertile soil like pastures, golf courses, hedgerows, meadows, fields and even on the floor of a woodland. You will always find Puffballs on the ground and never growing from wood.
The puffball can be confused with a number of other mushrooms like the Earthball, young Amanitas and the Stinkhorn. Once you stay on the side of caution and ensure it’s not growing from woods, has no gills and is solid white then you will likely be safe. If you have any doubts at all you should not eat a mushroom.