Puffball mushrooms look like something alien in the landscape. The mature mushrooms are the ones you see children kicking to release the smoky spores. The mushrooms can be as small as a penny or large as a cantaloupe. The fungus is best to eat when the flesh is firm, white and dry. When you slice them open, you should not see gills or you have a potentially dangerous fungus. The puffball grows on organic matter that is decomposing and propagates through spores. Purposeful propagation of puffballs is very difficult, but there is no reason not to try.
Things You'll Need
Ripe brown puffball
2 gallons spring or mineral water
1 tbsp. molasses
5 gallon bucket
Fill the 5 gallon bucket with 2 gallons of spring water. Break open the puffball mushroom over the bucket and press until spores are released. The spores will drift down into the water. You can toss in the damaged mushroom pieces to soak out the rest of the spores.
Add a pinch of salt and 1 tbsp. of molasses. The salt keeps bacteria from forming and the molasses provides food for the spores. Let everything soak in the bucket at room temperature for no more than two days.
Pour the mixture out onto a lawn, grassy field or other area where you have seen puffball mushrooms growing. Keep the area misted every couple of days and wait. Mycelium will penetrate and grow in the ground. Fruiting can be expected in three to four weeks.
Harvest the mushrooms while they are still white. When you harvest them, use a very sharp knife to cut them off at the ground. This will preserve the mycelium so the puffballs will come back year after year.
Starting puffballs is difficult. You can also order an inoculation kit for puffballs and start a crop in that manner.