IT’S a mushroom but not as we know it.

This whopping fungi, the size of a basketball, was spotted in a field in Kirkheaton.

Jayne and Eric Southern couldn’t believe their eyes and asked the farmer’s permission to pick it.

The couple, who live in Grange Moor, were driving past the field off Liley Lane when they saw the bright white monster.

Eric said: “It looks like the classic image of an alien’s bulbous head!

“We knew what it was straight away, though, but it’s a really rare find.”

The mushroom is a calvatia gigantea or giant puffball.

The couple spoke to the farmer who let them take the puffball home.

They measured it round the middle and found its girth to be 90cms (35.5ins).

Jayne Southern's giant puffball mushroom
Jayne Southern's giant puffball mushroom
 

Jayne said: “It’s enormous and we really didn’t know what to do with it but we knew it was something special.

“We didn’t have any scales big enough at home so we took it to Grange Moor Post Office to be weighed.”

The mushroom tipped the scales at an amazing 1.884kg (4.16lbs) and Jayne said: “It’s very solid.

“It feels like a mushroom but it kind of bounces like a big fat belly. It’s quite strange.”

The couple certainly got some funny looks carrying the mushroom.

“People were amazed,” said Jayne.

“No-one has seen anything like it.”

The couple are deciding what to do with it next.

“I’ve read up about it and it is edible. Some people say they are delicious while others don’t like the taste.

“I suppose it’s like Marmite, you either love it or hate it.”

Most giant puffballs generally grow to between 10cms and 70cms (3.9ins to 28ins) in diameter but they can reach 150cms (59ins).

Giant puffballs are edible when immature (when the flesh is pure white) but can cause digestive upset if the spores have begun to form.

The inside of mature giant puffballs is greenish brown.

The flesh of giant puffballs tastes very similar to tofu or melted cheese when cooked.

To prepare, remove any brown portions and tough skin which sometimes peels off easily. Puffballs can be saut�ed, broiled (grilled) or breaded and fried.

They can be cooked then frozen.