The Asheville Mushroom Club is a diverse group of people whose common interest is to learn about fungi. Anyone with an interest in mushrooms is encouraged to join!

More About the Club

Monthly Meetings

Monthly meetings are open to the public and feature a guest speaker and recent area finds.

Time & Date

7:00 PM on the last Thursday of the month, March through November.

Location

The US Forest Service building.
It is located at 160 Zillicoa Street, Asheville, NC 28801.

2019 Schedule

Monthly meetings are done for the year, they will resume in March of 2019. We will post updated speaker information once next year's speakers are lined up. Have a wonder winter!

Membership

Become a member to receive our monthly newsletter, sign up for forays, and more!

Forays

Members of the Club are eligible to participate in the many forays we host throughout the year.

foray
Newsletter

Each month members are emailed a copy of Sporadic News containing all the latest club info.

newsletter

Calvatia gigantea

AKA: Giant Puffball.

Fall has arrived and with it new challenges for the mycophagist. There are so many leaves falling that searching in the woodlands and forest can be all but fruitless. I know the mushrooms are there, lobsters and chanterelles under the leaves, but finding them can be very tough. Now is when the truly knowledgeable, dedicated mycologist starts searching the woodland/meadow edges, grassy areas near the trees for the giant puffball. Look for “dinosaur eggs”, large, rounded, ball shaped fungi that range in size from baseball to larger that a basketball. Most guides list the giant puffball as fruiting from August until October, but I have found them as late as mid December.

There are several species of Calvatia. Most can only be differentiated at maturity, well past the delicious stage. No bother, all are edible if two rules are unerringly followed. First, cut the mushroom from top to bottom. There MUST be NO sign of any mushroom structure. Secondly, the entire interior MUST be pure white. Lincoff refers to the Calvatia group as being choice edibles and I suppose I agree. They at least have a much firmer, meatier texture than the marshmellowlike Lycoperdons.

Giant puffballs make a good meat substitute. I really like them in any recipe that calls for breading and frying. To prepare cut them into ½ inch thick “steaks”, bread and fry. The possibilities are almost endless, think: chicken fried puffball with sherry/cream gravy, puff ball scallopini, puffball parmesan (my favorite), sweet & sour puffball etc. etc…  I’ve never preserved puffball, but I believe any of the methods I’ve outlined earlier would work well. Contrary to popular belief they are NOT alien pods (remember invasion of the body snatchers?), they are “Good Eats” (flagrantly stolen from Alton Brown).

Enjoy nature’s bounty; the cold is soon upon us.

Steve Peek
Field mycologist and long standing member of the Asheville Mushroom 


Join the conversation in AMC's Yahoo Forum.

Go to Our Forum