I had never heard of fiddleheads before moving to Maine. Fiddleheads grow on the sides of streams in our area. They are the unfurled fronds of a young ostrich fern. People in the know will go out to their favorite places and pick them. You will find people selling them on their front lawns for about $2.50/$3 a bag, which is usually about a pound. They were $4.99/pound in the local grocery store. Here’s a good link from the University of Maine Extension that shows pictures and a video on how to identify an ostrich fern fiddlehead. You don’t want to pick the other ones by accident, because they are carcinogenic!
For example, these are NOT edible fiddleheads, but they are growing in our backyard swampy area. If picking fiddleheads, you want to avoid these furry looking ones. Not for eating! But, they are pretty, and lovely later in the year when they turn into ferns.
We had dinner out tonight, and fiddleheads were on the veggie sides menu, so of course I had to choose them! The first spring veggie of the year. It’s a momentous occasion after a long winter. They were done really well. When we have them at home (after purchasing from someone on the roadside usually), we just saute them with some butter. Mmm…a little bit bitter, but they have a wonderful spring flavor.
Filed under: Cooking |