The fruiting body of a puffball mushroom will develop within the period of a few weeks and soon begin to decompose and rot, at which point it is dangerous to eat. Unlike most mushrooms, all the spores of the giant puffball are created inside the fruiting body; large specimens can easily contain several trillion spores. Spores are yellowish, smooth, and in size. The dry spores can be used as a coagulant to help stop bleeding.
The classification of this species has been revised in recent years, as the formerly recognized class Gasteromycetes, which included all puffballs, has been found to be polyphyletic. Some authors place the giant puffball and other members of genus Calvatia in order Agaricales. Also, the species has in the past been placed in two other genera, Lycoperdon and Langermannia.
Some claim the meat tastes very similar to tofu or melted cheese when cooked. To prepare, remove any brown portions and tough skin, which sometimes peels off easily. Do not soak in anything. Puffballs may be sauteed, broiled, or breaded and fried; they do not dehydrate well, but may be cooked and then frozen.
Additionally, puffballs resemble the earthball (Scleroderma citrinum). The latter are distinguished by a much firmer, elastic fruiting body, and as an interior that becomes dark purplish-black with white reticulation early in development.