Last Updated - 7.24.2013
Edible Wild Mushrooms Commonly Found In Pennsylvania And Personally Eaten Regularly
Photo of winecap Stropharia
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Aborted Armillaria
Armillaria abortivum
Aborted entoloma

Almost Bluing
King Boletus

Boletus subcaerulescens

Artist's Conk
Ganoderma applanatum

Bear's Head Tooth
Hericium americanum

Black Trumpets
Craterellus fallax

Clitocybe nuda

Brick Caps / Brick Tops
Hypholoma sublateritium

Cauliflower Mushroom
Sparassis spathulata

Chicken of the Woods
Laetiporus sulphureus

Inonotus obliquus

Comb Tooth
Hericium coralloides

Common Laccaria
Laccaria laccata

Corrugated Cap Milky
Lactarius corrugis

Giant Puffball
Langemannia gigantea

Golden Chanterelle
Cantharellus cibarius

Hedgehog Mushroom Big
Dentinum repandum

Hedgehog Little
Dentinum umbilicatum

Hen of the Woods
Grifola frondosa

Honey Mushrooms
Armilleria mellea

Horn of Plenty
Craterellus cornucopioides

Horse Mushroom
Agaricus arvensis

Hygrophorus Milky
Lactarius hygrophoroides

Lilac Bolete
Xanthoconium separans / Boletus separans

Lingzhi / Reishi
Ganoderma lucidum & G. tsugae

Lion's Mane / Old Man's Beard
Hericium erinaceus

Meadow Mushrooms / Pinkies
Agaricus compestris

Oyster Mushroom
Pleurotus ostreatus

Purple-gilled Laccaria
Laccaria ochropurpurea

Quilted Green Russula
Russula virescens

Red Chanterelle
Cantharellus cinnabarinus

Rooted Oudemansiella
Oudemansiella radicata

Shaggy Mane
Coprinus comatus

Smooth Chanterelle
Cantharellus lateritius

Tinder Fungus
Fomes fomentarius

Two-colored Bolete
Boletus bicolor

Voluminous-latex Milky
Lactarius volemus

Winter Chanterelle
Cantharellus tubaeformis
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The Prince ? or Almond Mushroom ?
Agaricus augustus or A. subrufescens
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Making mushroom essence

Giant Puffball - Langermannia gigantea

Anyone that has picked wild mushrooms for any length of time will have run across the Giant Puffball.
It is noted as a 'Choice ' edible in most mushroom guides.
Photo of a Giant Puffball being held - Langermannia gigantea

And anyone that has picked wild mushrooms for any length of time and that does run across one probably does what I used to do most of the time - run away, well, actually I walked away.
Fact is, although some passable culinary treats can be made with these, it grows at the time of year that there are so many other choice mushrooms appearing that have MORE taste and MORE texture, that the treats made with Giant Puffball pieces are more a novelty than anything else.
The same treats will be better if using one of the other varieties.

On occasion of course I will pick one and do the bread crumb / fried slices thingy, which I do enjoy.
They are pretty decent but I actually prefer those fried slices as a left over, cold ( to paraphrase Khan talking about revenge, " it is a dish that is best served cold " ).
They are little snacks now and then. I grab one from the frig., like grabbing a cold piece of pizza. A nice low calorie snack.

Most of the time now I use the Giant as a basis for getting mushroom essence/flavor.

You will notice when slicing the Giant Puffball in half that it has a terrific amount of mushroom aroma. The whole inside of the car has that rich mushroomy smell while driving around. As good as that promise of flavor is though, most of it is gone upon cooking.

The texture too is not something to be boastful about. When fresh and cut into small slices they look like slices of styrofoam. It even sounds like styrofoam when being cut by a sharp knife( that of course is a good thing since it indicates freshness ).
When little slices are diced up it looks like a pile of diced styrofoam.

Click on the photo for a close-up.
Photo of slabs and diced Giant Puffball pieces - Langermannia gigantea

Cook those diced pieces up on medium heat in about 1 cup of bullion based chicken stock ( Wyler's sodium free ) and one slice of softened diced onions and it looks like you have hundreds of little broken styrofoam packing peanuts in the pan.
If you need more liquid double the above amount.
You will notice that Giant Puffballs do not give off any amount of liquid such as other mushrooms do so you will need some to get them started to relinquish their flavor.
Photo of diced Giant Puffball cooking in bullion based stock - Langermannia gigantea

Of course those packing peanuts still have the consistency of warm marshmallows.

However, taste the stock AFTER it has cooked down to the reduced rate of half it's volume.
It is real mushroomy! It's that same mushroomy aroma you had in the car with you after cutting it in half. What you did was fool Ariggio, the mushroom God. You have stolen the flavor from his Giant and concentrated it in a small amount of liquid.
Photo of diced Giant Puffball cooked down to half it's original volume - Langermannia gigantea

Drain the contents of the pan into a WET muslin cloth draped over a strainer that is set in a bowl and let the juices filter through.
Photo of a muslin strainer for filtering Giant Puffball mushroom essence - Langermannia gigantea
When it's done dripping pick up the muslin cloth, ball it up and squeeze around it to get out additional juices.
That's it - Fort Pitt!
Put the juice in a freezer jar and freeze it or put in refrigerator and use it within a week when you want to make something with other mushrooms of a more pleasing texture and eye appeal.

You can add to the freezer jar at a later time when you find another Giant Puffball. Eventually you will have enough for a specific recipe.
Or use the amount you have as an addition to soups, stews and gravies. It will at least add to the recipe some additional mushroom flavor.

Best practice is to slice up the Giant into approximately half inch thick slabs. Then trim off the edges ( mushroom's skin ) from the slabs. By slicing into half inch slabs you will be able to make sure there are no insect tunnels or insects inside.
Then cut the slabs into half inch thick columns, then cut those columns into half inch thick squares.

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