Posted by: highmountainmuse | June 7, 2009

Mama J’s Mushroom

Mama J's Mushroom

Mama J's Mushroom

Yes, I know, I was supposed to share the cornbread recipe today. But you know how it is:  sometimes, thing come up…

Well, this came up.  In fact, it grew up.  A great big Puffball Mushroom.  I have never, ever seen one even come close to this size.  My Mama J found it along side the road up the mountain.  Said she had been watching it for weeks and figured it was finally ready.

I believe she was right.  Not a worm in it. Pure white through and through.  Perfect!

All this rain has paid off with a crop of early mushrooms.  One more simple blessing from the beautiful rain.

I’d never cooked a Puffball before and was rather hesitant.  They are not poisonous, so I was not really afraid I would be poisoning my family by serving this as a side dish.  It’s important to be able to get a positive i.d. on your wild mushrooms.  There are many books available to help you identify, but they can be confusing and overwhelming. If you’re going to get a book, try to find a local one so that you only have to flip through the pages of real possibilities, not every single magnificent variety that can be and has ever been found from one coast clear to the other. The best bet is to learn from someone who knows.  Stick with the few varieties you are 100% certain about.  It’s really not worth getting sick over.

Since we were 100% sure, and this one was a beauty, we had to try it.  This thing was huge, so I ended up slicing, then dicing to get “bite size” pieces that would cook evenly.  We wanted to taste the mushroom, so I kept the cooking simple.  I melted 2 tablespoons butter in a medium cast iron skillet. Tossed in the diced mushrooms and coated them with butter.  Added ¼ teaspoon dried thyme.  Cooked over medium heat for about 8 – 10 minutes, tossing regularly to brown all sides.  Then sprinkled with garlic salt for the last minute. 

They were good.  Simple, smooth, flavorful… couldn’t ask for more. 

Figured I should share the recipe with you, simple as it is. It works well with most any kind of mushroom, but a wild variety will usually produce a richer flavor.

Most years, our mushroom season isn’t until August.  I wonder if this early rainy season has thrown off the cycle for the year, or if our August crop will come on as usual.  Time will tell.



  1. I agree, it was very yummy. I have never eaten a wild mushroom. I guess I am not good at knowing which are good and which are not, plus I have never seen one this big! The flavor and texture was very nice. Thanks Gin!

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