If you are a Vermonter then most likely you recently have had some conversation about fiddleheads. It is fiddlehead season! That short window where the fern is not yet unfolded and the knot of greenery presented at the tip is ripe for picking. A gourmet’s delight, these exotic little greens make for some unsurpassed eats. They taste like spring and you can find them tossed in salads, simply sauteed as a side dish, pickled, or even better deep fried in a batter with your favorite dipping sauce.
Fascinating fiddlehead facts:
2. Certain varieties of fiddleheads have been shown to be carcinogenic. (Know what you are picking!)
3. The fiddlehead resembles the curled ornamentation (called a scroll) on the end of a stringed instrument, such as a violin or viola.
4. When picking fiddleheads, three tops per plant is the recommended harvest. Each plant produces seven tops that turn into fronds; over-picking will kill the plant.
5. Fiddleheads have been part of traditional diets in much of Northern France since the beginning of the Middle Ages.
6. Native Americans and Asians have included them in their diet for centuries.
7. Many different type of ferns are harvested for their fiddleheads including Bracken, Ostrich fern, Zenmai, Vegetable, Royal fern, and Cinnamon fern.
8. The Canadian village of Tide Head, New Brunswick, bills itself as the “Fiddlehead Capital of the World.”
9. Ostrich ferns, known locally as fiddlehead ferns, grow wild in wet areas of North-East North America in spring.
10. To cook fiddleheads, it is advised to remove the yellow/brown skin, then boil the sprouts twice with a change of water between boilings. Removing the water reduces the bitterness and the content of tannins and toxins.
11. Fiddleheads are also exported fresh and frozen.
12. Fiddleheads are low in sodium, but rich in potassium, and a good source of fiber.
14. Fiddleheads (A wild delicacy of Maine and the Northeast) has it’s own facebook page which I have chosen to like, and you should too.