Young puffballs are excellent to eat. Slicing them into thick steaks with a knife is a most satisfactory business, because the pure white flesh is extraordinarily smooth and even. The slices are delicious, particularly if fried in bacon fat. Older specimens are less satisfactory; they are often invaded by slugs or knocked over by cattle, which sometimes trample them out of curiosity. A fully mature puffball loses all charm, for its skin turns brown and papery, and its inside degenerates into yellow-brown dust, so that, if kicked, the whole thing explodes in a gaseous cloud of spores - up to seven billion of them, if experts are to be believed.
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