Yikes, spikes!

Vaalea orakas - Hydnum repandum
Vaalea orakas – Hydnum repandum

Chanterelles (kantarelli) are probably one of the most popular mushrooms to pick in Finland. Sometimes when you think you’ve found a chanterelle, you may notice that there are spikes – or in other words, teeth – under the mushroom cap. If this happens, don’t make the mistake what many beginners do and throw the mushroom away. What you’ve found is not chanterelle (as chanterelles have ridges), but a Hydnum repandum (Vaaleaorakas) or Hydnum rufescens coll. (Rusko-orakas). Both are just as good mushrooms as chanterelle.

From left to right: Chanterelle (kantarelli), hydnum rufescens (rusko-orakas) and hydnum repandum (vaaleaorakas)
From left to right:
Chanterelle (kantarelli), hydnum rufescens (rusko-orakas) and hydnum repandum (vaaleaorakas)

Especially Hydnum rufescens (rusko-orakas) resembles chanterelle, with its orange-brown color. In the picture on the left, the cantarelle’s cap is extraordinarily pale due to the dry weather. From below the cap the color is the usual beautiful orange, which is easy to spot from the ground.

Same mushrooms from the other side. Notice the difference between ridges and teeth below the cap.
Same mushrooms from the other side. Notice the difference between ridges and teeth below the cap.

Hydnum repandum has a good firm structure, and some say that the taste resembles that of chicken meat. So you may want to try this mushroom as a replacement of meat 🙂 It goes well in omelets and you can also cut it in pieces and roll in raw egg and flour to make mushroom nuggets by frying them on a frying pan. Hydnum rufescens has more fragile structure, so it doesn’t work as well for nuggest, but otherwise you can use it for pies, omelettes, sauces etc. Both hudnum repandum and rufescens give harvest from July to late Autumn, and you can cook them for example with with canterelles or russulas.

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