Have You Tried Fiddleheads?


I’ll be honest, I had never heard of fiddleheads until I moved to Nova Scotia. I would see them every spring in the produce aisle of the grocery store, but just kept on walking by and hadn’t purchased them, until now. I finally decided to try them and see what this seasonal delicacy is all about.

Quick Overview

Fiddleheads are edible ferns. They are immature fern fronds harvested in spring, during the early stage of their development when they are tightly coiled and resemble a fiddle’s scroll (the upper end of the instrument), hence the name fiddlehead.

Fiddlehead season is extremely short, usually April and May.

It only takes a few days before the fronds start to unravel and the plant develops into a mature fern.

There are many varieties of ferns, but the ones harvested on the East coast are the ostrich ferns, which fan out to resemble ostrich feathers once fully grown.

Nutritional Value

Fiddleheads offer a lot of nutritional value.

They are rich in

  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • omega-6 fatty acids
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin C
  • potassium
  • iron
  • fibre

Safety Precautions

Not all wild ferns are edible. Some types are toxic. Although ostrich ferns can easily be spotted in woodlands, unless you can identify them with absolute certainty, best not to harvest them yourself.

Even edible fiddleheads can cause food poisoning when eaten raw or undercooked.

Always cut browned ends, remove the husk, rinse thoroughly and then boil or steam the fiddleheads for at least 10 minutes before using them in recipes!

Even if you plan on sautéing them, cooking them, frying them, incorporating them in a soup recipe, adding them in a salad or in a smoothieALWAYS boil or steam them first! And NEVER eat them raw!

Fiddleheads can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.

You can also freeze them and enjoy them year-round. Simply boil or steam first, then blanch, dry and place in freezer bags.

Some grocery stores carry them in the frozen section too.

Easy Recipes

1. Fiddlehead Salad

Fiddleheads have a unique taste. In order to enjoy their full flavour try eating them as a salad. Delicious!

  • Rinse a handful of fiddleheads thoroughly
  • Boil or steam for 10 minutes
  • Drain
  • Blanch for 2 minutes
  • Drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • Add 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Season with salt & pepper

2. Fiddlehead Omelette

You can really get creative when it comes to cooking with fiddleheads. For example, you can incorporate them in your breakfast.

  • Rinse a handful of fiddleheads thoroughly
  • Boil or steam for 10 minutes
  • Drain
  • Blanch for 2 minutes
  • Sauté fiddleheads in 1 tbsp butter, for 1 minute
  • Add 4 whisked eggs over top
  • Cook until ready
  • Top with bacon bits and cheese
  • Season with salt & pepper

3. Fried Fiddleheads With Sweet Hummus Sauce

For picky eaters… this recipe is sure to please.

  • Rinse a handful of fiddleheads thoroughly
  • Boil or steam for 10 minutes
  • Drain
  • Blanch for 2 minutes
  • Beat 1 egg
  • Dip the fiddleheads in egg one by one
  • Coat them with breadcrumbs
  • Fry fiddleheads for 2 minutes in hot oil
  • Place on paper towel to remove excess oil
  • Serve with sweet hummus sauce

Sweet hummus sauce

  • 1/2 cup hummus
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Mix hummus and honey together until smooth

If you haven’t tasted fiddleheads yet, then I hope these recipes will encourage you to try them out!

Happy cooking 😀

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