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Fiddlehead Ferns — 34 Comments

    • You're welcome! They're not available everywhere, so that may be a factor. But if you can get them - oh, my, a kid would love them! They look so cool!
  1. Very cool post! I have never tried fiddleheads, which is odd because I have a BS in Ornamental Horticulture and there are Ostrich Ferns all over the place around here! I might have to take a walk in woods later and see if I can find some :) I've never seen them at the public market either but like you said, you have time that just right!
    • Fascinating! (And so I know you know what you are looking at... LOL) Definitely look for them, and good luck! They are some work to harvest and clean, but worth it, I think.
  2. I learned so much from this post, thank you! We do get fiddleheads here, sometimes, in the spring... and I actually saw some just the other day. I was so tempted to snatch them up, and now I'm regretting my choice to pass them by. Now I'll know how to prepare them when I see them again!
    • Oh, cool! I'm so glad! Thank you for telling me. Yes, I've had things like that - Looks interesting, what would I do with them, how would I even find out, what are those called, again?? I love when I get an answer! Hope you find them this week!
    • They're not all that readily available even in areas where they do grow - you pretty much need to be at the right farmer's market in the right region during the right couple of weeks. I'd never heard of them myself for most of my life... I went with this post knowing that it would be of mild general interest (at best) for many people - but fascinating to some and extremely useful to a handful... and the comments seem to be bearing me out. Glad to provide something interesting!
  3. I've been served these in restaurants (notably in Canada and in Japan) but I've never thought to look for and cook them at home. Feeling quite inspired, thank you!
    • As I understand it, in Japan they're probably the fronds of a different plant, not ostrich fern. There are a couple of different ferns eaten this way, around the world. But I've never seen them in a restaurant, so that's cool!
  4. These are a favorite of mine to fix. My husband and I go fiddlehead hunting every spring. Here in Maine you can find them growing beside the road if you're lucky or you can get them from the local farmer's market. I love them sauteed in garlic butter with a little cumin, salt, and pepper sprinkled in.
    • Cool! Foraging them myself isn't a serious option, here in Manhattan... LOL They do grow here, a friend just posted a picture, but foraging in New York City parks is technically illegal, because they're concerned that, with so many of us, the parks might be stripped out. (In fact, people do it, and even teach classes, and a blind eye is usually turned to those foraging gently... but if too many people start, officials will start Noticing.) I eat them so rarely, I never even tried seasoning - but garlic and cumin sound fantastic! (Hmmm... you know - green garlic is at Greenmarket now, too. That would be a combination!)
    • Yes - I was excited to see them because I haven't had fiddleheads for a couple of years myself! It's a short season, and we've had several unseasonable springs - alternating between unusually warm and unusually cold. By now, I have no idea when to look for anything! The Coolness Factor of the way they look is certainly part of the attraction - but I do love the flavor.
    • It's not exactly the same, of course - but the same ballpark, as it were. A little More - more green, more intense, more earthy... More Spring... Absolutely try them, if you can!
  5. What a cool looking veggie! I've never even heard of them! I don't have anything unusual growing in my yard, but my mom's backyard is full of wild blackberry bushes! Picking them is one of my favorite things to do in summer.
    • Ummm... There were wild blackberries across the road from my grandmother's place. They were on the edge of a heavily wooded, steep hill, so we could never get many berries, but I remember going up in my robe, first thing in the morning, to pick berries for cereal or muffins. Nice memory...
  6. Stumbled upon what appear to be fiddle head ferns, but I'm apprehensive about whether they are or aren't edible. Would love to post a photo...
    • I'm afraid I'm not the person to ask that. I live in Manhattan, and just buy them from farmers who harvest the fiddleheads on their own land... Because they know what they are looking at! I would suggest finding someone local who is familiar with them. I know that there are actually several kinds of edible ferns, but also inedible or toxic ones, so don't just eat them randomly. Wish I could be more help! And good luck with them!
    • Well - as a caution - not all are! And even the edible ones are only in this early stage... But if you can find someone who shows you the right ones in your area (if there are any - another issue) they are delicious!
  7. I've always been fascinated by fiddlehead ferns - I think they are beautiful - but I never know how to cook with them! Sauteed in butter as you suggest and maybe with some pasta and goat's cheese sounds like a fantastic lunch!
    • Yes - I remember wondering what to do with them myself! Do steam them first - it is important to cook them enough. And oh, my, that does sound fantastic!
    • They really are wonderful! If you forage yourself, do make sure you get the right plants - not all ferns are edible. I do my searching at the farmer's market, so that part is easier!

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