These were in our yard this week.
Foot for scale.
It had a thick base that made it look like an upside-down pear. The top is a bit netted looking. There were five of them in different places in our yard. Obviously this is a puff ball of some kind. But which one? And are they all edible? I have three field guides and they tell me conflicting things about what variety this is.
Then there's this. A bolete mushroom because it has pores underneath instead of gills. There's a patch of them growing under some pines in the side yard and they are huge. Are they King Boletes? Who knows. I can't tell.
As with the puffballs, my guidebooks tell me that sure, most of them are not only perfectly edible but also delicious. You know, except for that one that might kill you.
People forget that the world is stuffed to the gills with edible food. To some people, if it doesn't come wrapped in a sterile little package and was purchased from a big box store it somehow seems either intimidating or gross. That's just been my observation anyway. But that certainly wasn't always the case. I've read that wild edibles in general are much more nutritious that their cultivated cousins. Especially those first bitter greens in the early spring. They retain more vitamins and other good-for-yous because they haven't been bred out of their original state by humans looking to capitalize on sweetness, storage or marketability.
I wish there were some kind of class that I could take, a primer on edible foods with a good textbook and a great instructor. I wish I felt as comfortable gathering mushrooms, greens and tubers as I do picking wild berries or the produce from my own garden.