How to Find Hedgehog Mushrooms (and Eat Them: With Recipes)

Even though it’s getting late in the edible mushroom season, we found a nice little haul of sweet tooth hedgehog mushrooms after the rain last weekend:

Photo Caption: "Sweet Tooth" hedgehog mushrooms (Hydnum repandum) that we found in the mountains of South Carolina.

Daytime temperatures were reaching the upper 40’s to 50 F when we found them under oaks in a South Carolina forest. The entire slope seemed to be covered with them but we only picked enough for that night’s dinner. It was also a cloudy day and had been raining during the week prior to our discovery.

Photo Caption: Sweet tooth mushrooms are hard to see under fall leaf litter. We often found several more if we gently brushed the forest debris. (Photo from Wikipedia Commons).

We prefer edible mushrooms that are hard to mistake for anything else, and sweet tooth hedgehogs fit the bill. Instead of the more familiar mushroom gills or pores, hedgehogs have tiny “teeth.” They’re not unlike chanterelles and have a similar color (pale to rich orange cap & stalk). They also smell and taste similar to chanterelles (especially to the “golden chanterelle” — Cantharellus cibarius).

If you find a mushroom that fits this description, it’s almost certain to be a sweet tooth hedgehog. But, in our mushroom hunts, even when we feel certain we’ve identified a mushroom correctly we still check it in at least 2 (but usually 4) reliable field guides before we choose to eat it. If there is even a faint doubt, we don’t eat it. I love blogs, but don’t consider them reliable field guides. Here’s a list of some suggested books and websites for you to use (PLEASE USE A MINIMUM OF TWO GUIDES BEFORE EATING WILD MUSHROOMS):

Another good way to learn the ropes with edible mushroom foraging is to join your local mycology society. The one in our area is called S.C.U.M.S. (South Carolina Upstate Mycological Society). Once you’ve made some mycologist friends it can booster your identification confidence. They’ll teach you “beginner” mushrooms that are more foolproof and you can move on from there.

Just remember that there is no need to be mycophobic if you thoroughly educate yourself before you eat! Guessing or assuming is what gets you into trouble.

Photo Caption: These sweet tooth hedgehog mushrooms have a similar flavor to golden chanterelles. It's nice to find tasty mushrooms like these so late in the season!

There is a massive, time-honored mushroom hunting culture in other areas of the world (especially in Japan and the bulk of Europe). Mushrooms are so well regarded that the more deadly problem is staying safe on cliffs or avoiding a territorial murder.

By and large, Americans have moved away from food traditions requiring more skill than pushing a shopping cart.  In spite of that, there is still a strong mushroom culture in the Appalachias where people have not abandoned traditional homesteading. The food revolution on the west coast has also created a booming appreciation of gastronomic (and recreational) fungi.

Most of us think of “mushroom” as a specific flavor associated with button/cremini/portobello (which are all the same species – Agaricus bisporus — at various stages of growth). This is like trying tomatoes and deciding that all vegetables must taste like tomatoes. In reality, mushrooms have wildly varying flavors! Morels do not taste like chanterelles, and porcini do not taste like bluwits.

Sweet tooth hedgehogs are a little bit fruity (like apricot) and very mild. We wanted a recipe that didn’t mask their delicate flavor.

Photo Caption: Sweet tooth hedgehog potato hash turned out to be a delicious dish! We cut our celery in larger chunks so that my daughter could pick them out -- they aren't one of her favorite ingredients.

Sweet tooth hedgehogs are plenty tasty if you simply saute them in butter (with maybe a little fresh thyme or chives). We would only have had enough for side dishes if we did that, so we turned it into a larger hash.

Recipe for Sweet Tooth Hedgehog Mushroom Potato Hash

  • 4 tablespoons oil (we used olive)
  • 1 small onion or 4 shallots, minced
  • 2 – 4 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Several sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped fine
  • Approximately 2 – 4 cups chopped hedgehog mushrooms (clean them with a soft brush instead of washing to get the soil off)
  • 3 – 5 leaves of fresh garlic chives (or regular chives), minced

Heat the 3 tbsp of the oil in a skillet and saute the onion (or shallot) until slightly translucent and soft. Toss in the potatoes, cover, and cook around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potato chunks can be pierced with a fork. Remove cover and throw in celery, garlic, and thyme. Stir occasionally (around 5 minutes) until celery begins to soften. Remove hash from pan and put in a bowl. Deglaze the pan with water if it is very crusted and wipe it clean. Heat the remaining tbsp of oil in the skillet and toss in the mushrooms. Cook until thoroughly softened, around 5 – 10 minutes. Return the hash to the skillet, add the garlic chives, and stir everything until well mixed. Serve!

Eliza Lord

I'm a Greenville, SC native (the Appalachian foothills) who wears the hats of Greenville Master Gardener & Upstate Master Naturalist. I love to write about food and sustainability.

33 thoughts on “How to Find Hedgehog Mushrooms (and Eat Them: With Recipes)”

  1. Pingback: Hedgehog Mushrooms in November « General Lordisimo’s Apocalypse

  2. Janet - December 3, 2010 10:06 am

    Eating wild mushrooms that I have gathered is something I have never done….ever. I do like mushrooms, so maybe one day. Very interesting post.
    .-= Janet´s last blog ..More of The Odds and Ends- A Friend- and Some Assistance- Please =-.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - December 13, 2010 4:42 pm

      Thanks!
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Grow and Use Achocha-Caigua a Problem-Free Cucumber Substitute- with Recipes =-.

      Reply
  3. Carolflowerhill
    Twitter: flora
    - December 3, 2010 11:36 am

    Yum-Yum! I love this but it saddens me too of course – “By and large, Americans have moved away from food traditions requiring more skill than pushing a shopping cart. ” Also the bit about the west coast fungi. Very witty and tantalizing post!
    .-= Carolflowerhill´s last blog ..A Muse Day Carnival Hot- Loud and Proud =-.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - December 13, 2010 4:43 pm

      I agree it is sad, but local food knowledge seems to be steadily coming back into fashion. Thank goodness!
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Grow and Use Achocha-Caigua a Problem-Free Cucumber Substitute- with Recipes =-.

      Reply
  4. tina - December 3, 2010 11:43 am

    These type of mushrooms sound really good. I wonder if you can buy them locally and where you’d check for them? It is neat you found a whole hillside-I’d love something tastier than plain ole button mushrooms. Too funny on the acronym for the society-a pretty fitting one though since they look for fungi?
    .-= tina´s last blog ..The Plant Cam =-.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - December 13, 2010 4:49 pm

      I love the name of “SCUMS” and definitely find it appropriate. :) Fortunately, the edible mushrooms I’ve found so far don’t resemble actual scum, though (unless you count witch’s butter, it’s pretty gross looking).
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Grow and Use Achocha-Caigua a Problem-Free Cucumber Substitute- with Recipes =-.

      Reply
  5. Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens - December 3, 2010 5:48 pm

    Collecting mushrooms “in the wild” is high on the list of things I want to do during this lifetime. I just don’t know how to find a reliable guide. Is there a central list of Mycological Societies for the US? Love your post, Carolyn
    .-= Carolyn @ Carolyn’s Shade Gardens´s last blog ..Keeping the Shade Garden Going in Late Fall =-.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - December 13, 2010 4:53 pm

      There’s the Mycological Society of America: http://www.msafungi.org/ but I don’t know of specific chapters. Try searching “mycological society” along with your state or city name to see if that narrows it down!
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Grow and Use Achocha-Caigua a Problem-Free Cucumber Substitute- with Recipes =-.

      Reply
  6. Catherine/ A Gardener in Progress - December 3, 2010 6:18 pm

    How cool that you can find such great mushrooms in the wild near you. I’ve always been a little nervous about eating them from the wild since I have no knowledge about them. Thanks for the links to all the great guides. Very interesting post!

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - December 13, 2010 4:53 pm

      Thanks! I’m still nervous about some of them, but I just don’t eat those. :)
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Grow and Use Achocha-Caigua a Problem-Free Cucumber Substitute- with Recipes =-.

      Reply
  7. Curbstone Valley Farm - December 3, 2010 6:19 pm

    Ha! You’re braver than me. I only hunt mushrooms with my camera. Even though I know our chanterelles are perfectly safe to eat, I’m still chicken when it comes to consuming fungus. For our edibles, I rely solely on our local Farmer’s Markets. Your recipe looks very tasty though!
    .-= Curbstone Valley Farm´s last blog ..A Look Back- 19th Century Coops =-.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - December 13, 2010 5:10 pm

      If I lived closer I’d just beg you to tell me where you see those chanterelles!
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Grow and Use Achocha-Caigua a Problem-Free Cucumber Substitute- with Recipes =-.

      Reply
  8. Donna - December 3, 2010 7:32 pm

    This is a great post. My husband’s grandfather was a mushroom hunter. How he knew which ones was beyond me. No one ever got sick and I finally tried them, and they were the best ones ever.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - December 13, 2010 5:17 pm

      You could just ask the gnomes for advice on this one! I’m glad your grandfather was a talented mushroom forager, though. :)
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Grow and Use Achocha-Caigua a Problem-Free Cucumber Substitute- with Recipes =-.

      Reply
  9. p3chandan - December 4, 2010 12:24 am

    Interesting post about foraging mushrooms but I guess to be very confident eating them, is a good knowledge of different type of mushrooms and to be able to indentify them.Your advice about looking through the list of guides provided here, should be good enough I think.
    .-= p3chandan´s last blog ..Seeds Galore! =-.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - December 13, 2010 5:21 pm

      Thanks! I definitely recommend a minimum of 2 guides that are local to your area.
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Grow and Use Achocha-Caigua a Problem-Free Cucumber Substitute- with Recipes =-.

      Reply
  10. Loose and Leafy
    Twitter: LucyCorrander
    - December 4, 2010 3:58 am

    I have documented fungi on my blog over the last three autumns. I doubt if any are edible and I know some are definitely not! I have only eaten Chanterelles in restaurants and suspect they have been dried and re-hydrated because they have been tasteless and leathery.

    On the other hand, I once knew someone who could safely identify Parasols and, picked fresh, they were filling and delicious. I don’t know if they grow round you. (?)

    Lucy Corrander
    .-= Loose and Leafy´s last blog ..A WINTER WALK AND A CUP OF TEA =-.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - December 13, 2010 5:22 pm

      I haven’t tried parasols before but I can agree that if you were eating “tasteless and leathery” chanterelles, they were most certainly dehydrated/reconstituted. The real ones have a delightful tender texture and aromatic flavor.
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Grow and Use Achocha-Caigua a Problem-Free Cucumber Substitute- with Recipes =-.

      Reply
  11. Wendy - December 4, 2010 10:09 pm

    very cool! I guess I am mycophobic, but mostly because I don’t like the taste of mushrooms. I would like to – with great architecture, rich flavor, and the fact that you can go with field guides and forage for them – very cool, but I just can’t get over the taste.

    Great tips for hunting for them as well as cooking them. These hedgehogs look meaty and pretty.

    I love the name of the scums group. ha ha!

    Reply
  12. lifeshighway
    Twitter: lifeshighway
    - December 5, 2010 7:45 pm

    I do not have enough education or confidence to harvest wild mushroom but I am very impressed that you do. Your dish looks delicious.
    .-= lifeshighway´s last blog ..What is a Felder =-.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - December 13, 2010 5:34 pm

      Thanks! Love your Felder Rushing post. :)
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Grow and Use Achocha-Caigua a Problem-Free Cucumber Substitute- with Recipes =-.

      Reply
  13. Andrea - December 7, 2010 9:43 pm

    Hmmm, i can smell the delicious aroma of that one. I love mushrooms, but that species is not available here. But we have lots of edible species too. Now i miss mushrooms in the supermarket as maybe it got so expensive to produce that we dont see much here. thanks.
    .-= Andrea´s last blog ..Why do we cover our grounds =-.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - December 13, 2010 5:41 pm

      Our supermarket mushrooms are always fairly bruised and dried out. I’m sorry you don’t have easily available ones where you live!
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Grow and Use Achocha-Caigua a Problem-Free Cucumber Substitute- with Recipes =-.

      Reply
  14. Kylee from Our Little Acre
    Twitter: OurLittleAcre
    - December 9, 2010 6:49 pm

    Those look SO good! I love mushrooms, although it’s like you said, I’ve only tasted one kind.
    .-= Kylee from Our Little Acre´s last blog ..Walking in a Christmas Wonderland =-.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - December 13, 2010 5:45 pm

      I used to think I was eating three different kinds with the button, cremini, and portobello. It wasn’t until I joined the mycological society that I learned they were the same thing.
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Grow and Use Achocha-Caigua a Problem-Free Cucumber Substitute- with Recipes =-.

      Reply
  15. One - December 10, 2010 11:00 pm

    I love mushrooms and yours do look great. There are plenty of mushrooms here but nothing that look like your edible ones. Thanks for sharing.
    .-= One´s last blog ..Environmental Speech =-.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - December 13, 2010 5:50 pm

      That’s too bad, because I’m sure you’d do an excellent job photographing them!
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Grow and Use Achocha-Caigua a Problem-Free Cucumber Substitute- with Recipes =-.

      Reply
  16. makarimi - December 13, 2010 2:08 am

    Hi, Thanks for commenting in my blog. You have great blog and interesting!
    This post,watering my mouth…it’s looks so delicious. I like mushroom so much.
    Thanks for sharing.
    .-= makarimi´s last blog ..Penang Orchid Show 2010 part II =-.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - December 13, 2010 5:53 pm

      Thanks! I’m very impressed with the orchid show you attended!
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Grow and Use Achocha-Caigua a Problem-Free Cucumber Substitute- with Recipes =-.

      Reply
  17. Lorraine
    Twitter: breadbuttercups
    - January 3, 2011 4:56 pm

    You’ve renewed my desire to join my local mycological society 😉 Mushrooms rule!!
    .-= Lorraine´s last blog ..Mochi Tsuki =-.

    Reply
  18. Marty Hiller - October 1, 2011 6:42 pm

    Wow, that recipe was good! I would never have guessed how well this would complement the flavor of those mushrooms. Thank you!

    Reply
  19. Hilary - October 14, 2013 12:56 pm

    I think I found a very large sweet tooth in Nova Scotia, Canada and am hoping to try eating it! I’ve looked through a field guide and read some of the webpages you’ve suggested but my province doesn’t really have a resource to ask anyone! Any suggestions?

    Reply

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