Fiddleheads – A Wild Treasure
Every spring, around Mother’s Day, our whole family treks off into the woods for “Fiddleheads”.
Every spring, around Mother’s Day, my children, husband and my parents all trek off into the woods for “Fiddleheads”. It is a family tradition and I LOVE it!
Fiddleheads are called as such because they resemble the end of a fiddle. In fact, they are actually the tender unravelled stem and leaves of a baby fern. We eat the Ostrich fern. It can be found in Ontario in low lying wet areas near (or in) forests and tastes like a cross between asparagus and snap peas. Fiddleheads will not replenish themselves if you harvest the whole plant so make sure you leave some behind to grow for next year!
DO NOT confuse them with the toxic Braken fern! If you find something that you think is a fiddlehead but it is greyish green in colour and is growing in a field or rocky area stay away! Alternatively, if you don’t feel comfortable picking them yourself, you can occasionally find them in the grocery store for a brief time each spring (although you’ll pay an arm and a leg).
Fiddleheads get me excited because they are straight from nature, delicious and are highly nutritious. They provide tons of vitamin A, niacin, some vitamin C; the minerals potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron, and the trace minerals manganese, zinc, and copper. Best of all they taste wonderful with butter, fresh lemon juice, and salt!!
Because they have a paper brown covering it must be removed by scraping it off with a small knife. It goes a lot faster when you work together, as a family or group.
We lay them out on a tea towel and let cool. Once they are cooled we divide into serving sizes, place in small freezer bags and plop them in the freezer. We will now have gorgeous greens to enjoy on a cold winter night.
You can’t get any more LOCAL than that!