Eating a Witch’s Egg

7 09 2010

This summer I found a dried out mushroom under one of our pine trees that kinda looked like a morel (Morchella sp.). The idea of having morels fruiting in our yard was very intriguing, so I started  watering the area hoping to get more. Well, today I did. However, it turns out they are not morels.  What I have are Common Stinkhorns (Phallus impudicus). Gotta love the scientific name😉

Although lacking the foul odor that stinkhorns commonly have, they are far from appetizing. None the less I did some research to find out more about the new addition to my garden. Most descriptions of the stinkhorns claimed that the young mushroom, before it breaks through it’s vail, is edible. The young mushroom has the name Witch’s Egg. There were claims that it tasted like a radish, was eaten raw and that they are eaten in France and Germany, but not a one claimed to have eaten one or gave any info on how to prepare it. All the references also listed it as non-poisonous, so… what the heck, why no give it a try. I had one “egg” but didn’t really know where to start.

It sounded like the part you would want to eat is the white crunchy part in the middle, but again, no guidance to how you might remove it cleanly. I quartered the “egg”, made a small cut at the bottom of each slice and peeled off the greenish slimy part.

After removing the outer part, they looked pretty good. Not quite sure what to expect I took a bite. Not bad. Taste like a radish, the texture was crunchy, but pithy, like a dry mealy apple. Maybe they are dryer than in Europe here in Colorado. Not to be discouraged I thought I would cook the rest to see if the texture improved. The claim was that the French and Germans ate them, so why not sauté  them in butter.

The texture was greatly improved. Something like a turnip or potato. The radish taste had given way to a mild earthy flavor. Almost like a french fry. I could eat them again. Maybe, fried with potatoes or with red meat like beef or lamb. If you can get over the look of the mature mushroom (and are man enough to eat something with a name like, Phallus impudicus) I say give them a try. If you do, let me know how you fixed them and your thoughts.

One source claimed that they are a beneficial fungus for the garden, being very good at converting plant matter into hummus. So I “planted” the left over bits in my blueberry bed in hopes that some of the spores would be able to germinate.