PUFFBALLS (LYCOPERDON spp. and CALVATIA spp.)
Description: Depending on their size, puffballs have been mistaken at a distance for everything from golf balls to sheep.
These round or pear-shaped edible mushrooms are almost always whitish, tan or gray and may or may not have a stalk-like base. The interior of a puffball is solid white at first, gradually turning yellow, then brown as the mushroom ages. Finally, the interior changes to a mass of dark, powdery spores, Size: 1" to 12" in diameter, sometimes larger.
When and Where: Late summer and fall; in lawns, open woods, pastures, barren areas. On soil or decaying wood.
Cautions: Each puffball edible mushrooms should be sliced from top to bottom and the interior examined. It should be completely white and featureless inside, like a slice of white bread. There should be no trace of yellow or brown (which will spoil the flavor) and especially no sign of a developing mushroom with a stalk, gills and cap (see Poisonous Mushrooms). Amanitas, when young, can resemble small puffballs, but cutting them open will quickly resolve the question.
Cooking Hints: Remove outer skin if it is tough, then slice, dip in batter and fry.