Calvatia Gigantea, commonly called the giant puffball, is a puffball mushroom found in meadows, fields, and forests usually in late summer to autumn. It can be found in mostly temperate areas throughout the world.
These mushrooms are big the one I have is about ten inches across and 2 kilograms and the one my son Joshua has is 16 inches and 3 ½ kilograms, they have been known to grow up to 20 kilograms, I found these when I was checking on the Highbush Cranberries near my home.
Since one of these mushrooms can easily feed twenty people and my family of four is much less, I will be dicing up the whole mushroom for soup and after dinner, freezing and canning the rest of the soup for later.
Step 1: Gathering the Puffballs
I found these in a lightly wooded aria growing among the sparse under growth, they looked like white footballs sitting on the forest floor.
A good puffball; is firm like a melon and if you tap it, it makes a thump just like a melon. When you cut it open the meat should be a solid white, dry to the touch, with no indication of gills.
However if the puffball is even slightly soft it has gone to spore and the insides will be dark and wet. If you eat a puffball that has gone to spore it will cause you intestinal distress.
Step 2: Ingredients
1 Giant Puffball Skinned and Diced
2 cups diced onion.
2 cups diced celery.
6 tablespoons butter
8 cups (2 liters) chicken broth.
½ teaspoon dried thyme.
1 teaspoon salt.
1 teaspoon ground black pepper.
1 teaspoon dried chives.
1 teaspoon dried parsley.
2 cups (1/2 liter) Crème Fraîche or Heavy Cream
6 tablespoons All-purpose Flour
Step 3: Directions First Step
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Ready in about 1 hour
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium sized stock pot, and saute onion and celery until tender.
Add 8 cups (2 liters) chicken broth and let simmer while you prepair the puffball.
Skin the puffball; this is easy, the outer skin of the puffball peels off just like a banana.
Then slice and dice the puffball to your hearts content.
Add the diced puffball to the broth, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Directions Second Step
After simmering for 10 minutes the puffball should be cooked and the pieces of puffball should not be floating.
Using a hand blender I puree the soup right in the cooking pot.
In small saucepan, over medium-heat melt 3 tablespoons butter, stir in flour and add milk. Stir until thick and bubbly, and add to soup.
Season with salt, pepper, chives, parsley and thyme.
Step 5: Serve
Simmer for another 5 minutes and serve with crackers or toast.
Since two gallons of soup is more than we can consume in a single sitting I froze a couple meals and canned single servings for later.
Step 6: Cold Canning
Cold canning is a little different; most canning you can store your preserves at room temperature for long periods of time before use. With cold canning you just pasteurize the soup and keep the soup refrigerated for shorter periods of time before use.
Start by preparing your jars for canning by washing and sterilizing.
Fill the jars to just ¼ of an inch from the top of the jar.
Place the lids on the jars loosely so that as you heat the jars the hot air and steam can escape.
Step 7: Cooking and Sealing
Since the mushroom soup is already cooked you don’t need to cook the contents other than to be sure the contents are sterile.
Place the jars in a pot large enough to hold the jars with a bit of space between them and tall enough to cover the jars up to the lid with water. I used a frying pan just for the picks.
Boil the water for five to ten minutes until the lids seal.
Make sure the screw lids are tight and let cool on a rack.
When cool, store in the refrigerator up to two months until you use them.