My son and I were practicing disc golf on the property when we thought we had spotted a long-lost-volleyball at a distance. As we approached, we realized this wasn't a volleyball - to my disbelief, it was a large mushroom.
That's not a Volleyball
It felt very firm - and light - like Styrophoam. It looked liked a weathered foam volleyball with a few small and shallow chunks tore out of it. In the picture below you can see how I tipped the ball over to confirm that it was a mushroom.
Not a Soccer Ball Either
My son had already dribbled it like a soccer ball a few times before I realized what he was doing - the mushroom was unharmed. We picked up the large mushroom and carried it back to the cabin.
Giant Puffball Mushroom Identified
We looked online for mushroom images from Ontario that looked like ours and found the Giant Puffball Mushroom - a perfect match. We read that it was an edible mushroom and that the inside must be white and firm. If the inside was brown had other discolorations, or was soft, then it was an older puffball that had already gone to spores - and was not to be eaten. Puffball mushrooms don't have gills for their spores like other mushrooms, they grown on the inside of the mushroom until the outside cracks to release the trillions of spores.
Giant puffballs are saprotrophs, meaning they feed on dead organic matter. They're more likely found in meadows and grasslands than in the forest. They are always found growing on the ground rather than up in trees.
The mushroom was sliced open and found to be firm, white, and smelled like button mushrooms.
*Be completely sure of the variety of mushroom before eating any wild mushrooms.
I wasn't feeling adventurous this time for eating the mushroom, but my aunt was happy to lay claim to it - to take home and devour. Cooked like button mushrooms, they are excellent sauteed with butter at the very least. With a little white onion to saute and caramelize as well, they would go great on a mushroom and mozzarella toasted sandwich - next time. Garlic also blends well with mushrooms, they would be nice in soups, sauces, shish kabob, and stir fry as well.
Puffballs are a known styptic and has long been used as wound dressing, either in powdered form or as slices 3 cm thick. The fungus was often harvested prior to battles for this purpose.Source: Wikipedia: Calvatia Gigantea
Giant puffball mushrooms often grow again in the same place, I'll watch for it's return next year.