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Hedgehog Mushroom

Hydnum repandum

Mushrooms with teeth? As a matter of fact, yes. Nothing intimidating, mind you, but these mushrooms do have small toothlike projections rather than gills on their lower cap surfaces. The tooth fungi, also known as "hedgehog" and "sweet tooth," appears in a variety of forms. Some grow as shelves on trees. Most are found on the ground. Colorful ones decorate the forest floor with their white, buff, red, orange-brown, blue, and purple caps. Several of the brightly colored wood varieties are used for dyeing woolen yarns. Only two kinds, Hydnum repandum and H. umbilicatum, are commonly eaten. Both are late bloomers, tending to appear in January along the Pacific Coast after other edible mushrooms have stopped fruiting. In the east they appear from July to November.

Hedgehog -- Click for larger image

Hydnum repandum is large, fleshy, buff colored, and found occasionally in groups under conifers or hardwood trees. White teethlike structures bear the spores. In a young specimen the teeth are firm. This is a good way to determine its age. When young, it has a mild, fresh odor, and it tastes best.

Hydnum umbilicatum, sometimes called the belly-button mushroom, is found in the dense undergrowth under rhododendron bushes and other forest shrubbery. It is smaller and darker than H. repandum. The cap is an inch or less in diameter and is depressed in the middle like a belly button. It romps around through the leaves in troops. Clean as you would H. repandum.

Tiny H. umbilicatum is delicious sautéed with butter until brown. This is a chewy mushroom with a prominent flavor enjoyed by children who won't eat most other wild mushrooms. Sauté quantities of these mushrooms to smother steaks and chops or pile onto toast or crackers. H. umbilicatum freezes well after being sautéed. Remember, only the young and firm are worth preserving.

A number of varieties of gorgeously delicate, white, beardlike mushrooms are occasionally stumbled on in the woods. These are in the genus Hericium. They grow only on wood, sometimes under the bark of large fallen logs. Wash them in running water and inspect for insects. They may be prepared in any way, even served uncooked in salads, but should be used only when they are white, brittle, and young. Try combining them with onions, peas and a little soy sauce after first sautéing the mushroom in butter. Hericium erinaceus is now being cultivated in the United States, where it is called "bear's head" or "pom-pom blanc," and in China, where it is known as "monkey head."


Brush their surfaces. Check the toothed undercaps for uninvited guests, and cut off damaged ends. Spread on paper towels to dry.

H. repandum requires light brushing with a little water to clean debris from the cap. Try not to wet the underside. Blot dry on paper towels.


The hedgehog mushroom has been described by some as having a mild chanterelle flavor. The color is similar to the white chanterelle. When older, they tend to be darker and taste bitter, so use only firm blond specimens. Their best use is in casseroles.


If you pickle H. repandum in vinegar and spices, it will last for a few weeks. It can be sautéed in butter and frozen. Drying toothed mushrooms is not advised. The mushrooms become fragile and grainy, and their teeth fall out. When reconstituted in water they are tough and tasteless.

Vegetarian Pickled Herring

Serves 4 as an appetizer

A Swedish recipe using the hedgehog mushroom to simulate herring. It will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week.

  • 1 to 1-1/2 pounds hedgehog mushrooms
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 allspice berries
  • 1 onion, cut into rings
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3-1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons sugar

Place the mushrooms in a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and cut them into 3-inch slices. Place in a glass container together with the bay leaf, allspice, and onion rings.

In a large saucepan cook the water, vinegar, and sugar together for about 2 minutes and pour over the spices and mushrooms. Let cool and serve.

--Carla Sundström

Hedgehogs and Vegetables

Serves 4 as a side dish

A quick, simple vegetable dish. Other mushrooms can be substituted in this recipe.

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 to 3 hedgehog mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 6 green onions, cut into tops and heads
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tablespoon beef concentrate
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

In a large sauté pan or skillet melt the butter and sauté the mushrooms and onion for 5 minutes. Add the other vegetables and toss gently . Add the beef concentrate, sugar, salt, and water. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are just barely al dente. Grind black pepper on top and serve on white rice.

--Kitchen Magic with Mushrooms

Scalloped Hedgehogs

Serves 4 as a side dish

The gentle flavors of hedgehogs and potatoes combined with the smoky flavor of bacon make this an interesting dish.

  • 4 medium red potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound hedgehog mushrooms, sliced (including stem)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives or green onions
  • Paprika to taste
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 bacon slices, chopped

In a buttered casserole dish, place half of the sliced potatoes and the cream. Add the sliced hedgehogs and cover with the remaining potatoes. Cover and bake in a preheated 375º oven for 25 minutes. Add the chives, paprika, and milk. Sprinkle with the cheese and bacon. Return to the oven, uncovered this time, and bake at 375º for another 20 minutes.

--Al Cattalini

ALTERNATE MUSHROOM: Common Store Mushroom

Breast of Veal with Hedgehog Mushrooms

Serve 4 to 6 as a main course

A dish that may be cooked ahead of time and reheated. Serve over egg noodles. Dried porcini are a tasty substitute for the hedgehog mushrooms in this recipe. Soak them in half water and half dry red wine.

  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One 3-pound breast of veal, cut into single ribs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 7 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup beef broth or more
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 1-1/2 pounds hedgehog mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper the ribs, then pat with the flour. Brown in 5 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven and set aside.

Wipe the pot clean and add the melted butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Cook the garlic and onion for 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, broth, bay leaf, thyme, and allspice, along with the mushrooms and the ribs.

Cover and cook over low heat for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. If the sauce becomes too thick, add more beef broth. Remove the bay leaf after 30 minutes of cooking. Sprinkle on the parsley just before serving.

--George Damron IV