Before we moved the farm, I'd heard lots of foodie hubbub about the deliciousness of fiddleheads, but never had the opportunity to taste them. Turns out we're sited on a treasure trove of these coveted wild edibles.
This springtime delicacy is actually the unfurled head of the Ostrich Fern (a telltale feature is the papery chaff) and can be found in woodlands or in our case, in the ditch along the road that fronts our farm.
While it's possible to buy fiddleheads at some farmer's markets (for as much as $6.99/lb), they're largely a foraged and wildcrafted springtime treat. If you're lucky enough to find some, be sure to only cut two or three fronds per plant.
The fiddlehead has a very short season -- less than two weeks, I'd say, before the frond uncurls completely and becomes inedible.
But when harvested young, the fiddlehead has a taste most often compared to a combination of asparagus, broccoli and green beans with woodsy undertones. Packed with vitamins A & C, these green gems are good for you, too!
Preparation is simple: rinse the chaff off the greens in cold water. Due to some reported cases of foodborne illness from eating raw fiddleheads, Health Canada recommends steaming or boiling before eating.
While many folks treat fiddleheads like any other kind of greens -- think stirfries, quiches and salads, for starters -- we like the quick and easy approach: I boiled this batch for 3 minutes, dumped the water and then steamed for another three minutes before tossing with some butter and dusting with salt & pepper. Delicious!