Velasquez Farm in Junction City (near Eugene) is a regular at the Bandon Farmers’ Market; one can find Vicente there most weekends, selling his organic veggies alongside wild-crafted Hedgehog Mushrooms (Hydnum repandum) that he has harvested in the woods around his farm. I ran into him this weekend, and he was happy to share some of his Hedgehogs with me to share with you this holiday season!
A favorite in gourmet circles, this nutty-flavored, sometimes peppery, wild Hedgehog mushroom is one of the easiest to identify, as it has little “teeth” instead of gills. (Gills are what you find on the underside of the standard, store-bought, white button mushroom.) In fact, that’s how it got its common name – Hedgehog – as the little teeth resemble the spines on the animal known as “hedgehog”.
Note: do NOT wash your Hedgehogs until just before using them! They won’t soak up the water like a Chanterelle would, but if you wash them too early, they WILL rot faster in the fridge. I don’t wash mine at all, but instead brush them clean with a soft-bristle brush (a pastry brush works well, as does a large makeup brush). Another note: hedgehogs are very brittle, and rough cleaning will result in a handful of pieces of mushroom – so be gentle! Store your Hedgehogs in the refrigerator, preferably in a covered container (but NOT a plastic bag; a rubbermaid container works well). They will keep for a few days quite nicely.