PUFF-BALL (see page illustration of Edible Fungi in article on MusHRooms) : a large species of fungus with properties and flavor resembling the mushroom, which could easily be developed into an important source of food supply. It is found in several parts of the United States, both in prairie , and woodland, but generally favoring the vicinity of old and decaying timber. It is of various shapes, but generally round or nearly so, with white or cream-colored exterior and of various sizes—from the small puff-balls on tree-stumps to the Giant Puff-ball (Calvatia Maxima), which grows from ten inches to sometimes nearly three feet in diameter. The last named is the most desirable for edible purposes. It is eaten before ripening, the flesh being then white, elastic and fragrant—generally cut in slices of an inch or so in thickness and then fried, preferably in butter. It is especially pleasing if dipped in egg yolk before frying, and lends itself readily to divers other forms of preparation.
Many of those accustomed to its flavor- consider it superior to the mushroom.
The smaller types (Genus Lycoperdon) include a cup-shape puff-ball, some vari eties white, others light buff, with white or reddish network on top.
The puff-bail takes its name from the fact that after drying, when squeezed, it emits its spores in puffs like smoke. A great advantage which it has over many edible fungi is that there is no poisonous variety that in any way resembles it. When you find a puff-ball, no matter what the size, it is always something safe to eat—though if it is ripe it becomes streaked with yellow or olive and loses its delicacy. If left undisturbed, the puff-ball is eventually transformed into powdery "spores" or seeds.