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Fiddleheads, Ingredient of the Season
May 4, 2016
Now that its really starting to feel a whole lot like spring, flowers are starting to bloom, sprouts are starting to grow and that includes Fiddleheads. With that being said, fiddleheads have a very short season, as they are harvested when they are just a few inches from the ground, when their fronds are still young and unfurled. Just like how you see here.
The most common variety that you can find, and that are edible, are from the ostrich fern. Their season starts mid-April to mid-May, and appear along river and stream banks. So the moment you see them, grab them, or else the next time you'll see them fresh will be next year. Although they may be available year-round frozen, they really are at their best when fresh.
If you, however, find yourself with a load of fiddleheads, and have no idea of what to do, or would like to store them for future use, the best way to keep fiddleheads are by freezing them. But make sure to cook them first before freezing!
What I find very fascinating about fiddleheads are not only their unique appearance, but also their nutritional profile. In just 100g of fiddleheads contains 34 calories. They are rich in antioxidants, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and are high iron and potassium! So much are packed into this little fern, its easy enough to incorporate them into a meal.
They are very similar to asparagus in which they can be prepared in pretty much the same way, and taste pretty similar too, and are best used in simple cooking, as they shine best when boiled or steamed and served with butter, salt, pepper, and a touch of lemon.
They are crisp in taste and texture, like string beans, grassy like asparagus or okra. The freshest ones are those that are tightly coiled, and those will be the most tender when cooked.
So if you are just as fascinated with fiddleheads as much as I am, stay tuned as I use them in a vegetable salad fit for the season!