The Hedgehog Mushroom is easy to identify and absolutely delicious! A fantastic species for beginners to get acquainted with.
Having been slightly obsessed with finding the elusive Chanterelle, I’d bent down to look at what I believed to be the slug-eaten remains of an Oyster mushroom when I spotted this mushroom close by….
The initial resemblance to the Chanterelle had me yelling out loud as I gently turned it over for closer inspection. This time, rather than disappointment, the spines instead of gills (that give this mushroom it’s name) left me in no doubt that I’d found my 12th edible mushroom!
The More You Know
Having spotted the first one, I quickly looked around for more, forgetting to get some decent photos in my excitement!
We managed to gather a handful of good specimens to take home but what I learned on further research, is that these mushrooms tend to grow in rings.
Had I known this, perhaps I would have found a few more… I certainly wish I had, they are really tasty!
How To Eat A Hedgehog
Disclaimer: Please don’t eat actual hedgehogs, they don’t like it.
Pick clean, as Mark Williams, of Galloway Wild Foods, wisely advises, and save yourself a lot of time in the kitchen. If you throw handfuls of muddy, leafy mushrooms into a heap, the dirt gets everywhere. I was careful to cut away the dirty parts of the stem and didn’t bother to wash them when I got home, just gave them a good brush. Some of the spines brushed off with the dirt but I think that’s preferable to running them under a tap, which generally compromises flavour and texture.
I may even start carrying my mushroom brush on walks.
After cleaning, I cut the larger ones in half and gently fried them in olive oil with some vegan butter and salt and pepper.
I usually prefer mushrooms very well cooked, particularly the common Agarics that you buy in the shop, but these required only minimal cooking, quickly developing a beautiful crispy golden colour.
All Hail The Hedgehog!
It has been a source of frustration to me that my little girl does not share my enthusiasm for wild mushrooms, and turns her nose up suspiciously at any foraged mushrooms I bring to the table…
Lately I’ve discovered ways of gaining her interest through… well, bribery!
Mushroom hunting is so fascinating and exciting to me that it perplexes me when others don’t share my passion.
Thoroughly fed up of trying to enjoy my woodland walks with the constant drone of “how long is this walk?, when can we go home?, I’m bored/tired…” I decided to explore other incentives… each mushroom found earns prizes, in the form of xbox time, money, minutes in the park etc, with special prizes for special mushrooms.
And it really works! Excited at the prospect of finding a Chanterelle for the reward, she asked me “but mum, what will you get?”
My dear, sweet child, I will get the mushroom!!
Since introducing other incentives the walks have become more enjoyable for everyone and she’s beginning to develop a genuine interest in the fungi that we find. Most surprising, is that when I asked if she would try the Hedgehog Mushroom, she happily accepted (and enjoyed it)!
These mushrooms have a lovely nutty texture and mild flavour, I do not recommend adding them as a topping to Thai Green Curry Soup…
We really enjoyed eating them straight from the pan but as dinner was nearly ready, I tried to save a few to go on top… The delicate flavour was lost among the strong curry flavours and I wish we had given in to temptation and munched them all in one go!
I can’t wait to find more of these, they are really enjoyable just eaten as a tasty snack alone but would work well on toast or with pasta (what doesn’t go with pasta?!).
Several sources recommend pickling them but I think I will need a huge haul to resist eating them all straight away.
Learn More About Hedgehog Mushrooms
I highly recommend this popular wild mushroom, known in France as Pied du Mouton, it also goes by the common names Sweet Tooth or Wood Urchin.
There are a couple of mushrooms that it could be confused with but mostly edible. The Terracotta Hedgehog – Hydnum rufescens is smaller and equally edible.
Check out the links below for more information and identification advice.
You can read about all the edible mushrooms I’ve found so far in my Mushroom Journals.
I’m off to the woods to look for my next one! Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave a comment below.