Fiddleheads Are Here….what now?

FIDDLEHEADS ARE HERE! boldly state the signs, and I wonder what in the world are fiddleheads.  According to Wikipedia, they are the unfurled frond of a young fern harvested for food consumption.  They are traditional foodstuffs in places like Indonesia, Japan, China and northern New England, predominately Maine.  Well, that explains that!

Until this year I refrained from buying fiddleheads because I didn’t have a clue what to do with them.  That changed, however, with the May issue of Maine Food & Lifestyle which featured a number of recipes with them as the main ingredient.  While I’ll not likely become the Bubba (as in Forrest Gump) of fiddleheads, I have tried a few dishes.

The simplest preparation is sautéing them in olive oil with a little salt and pepper.  The taste is somewhere between asparagus and broccoli, OK but not too exciting.  I tried fiddlehead stew, a recipe which had also caught the eye of my friend Judy, and is basically a soup made from vegetable stock, onion, a little cream and fiddleheads.  It was pretty tasty, but it got even better when I added more liquid and some carrots, celery, potatoes, cannelli beans and  herbs de Provence to the leftover stew.

Now, here is what is really interesting about fiddleheads and just might be the reason to eat them more often during their limited growing season.

Agriculture Canada reports that scientists are just discovering how nutritious fiddleheads are — even better than blueberries, the gold standard for antioxidants. They have found that fiddleheads are twice as strong as blueberries with regard to antioxidant activity.

Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals linked to the development of a number of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

Test results also showed that fiddleheads are packed with the nutrient omega-3 fatty acids.

Fiddleheads are a good source of dietary fibre. They are low in sodium, and contain vitamins A and C, niacin, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium.

What do you think?  Should we add more of them to our diet or just stay with all the yummies posted on Foodie Friday?

I love your comments, so jump right in and share!

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14 thoughts on “Fiddleheads Are Here….what now?

  1. They are absolutely the very best vegetable and only grow wild. You will never be a true Mainer until you LOVE them. I grew up in Maine and they were a delicacy. Everyone had their secret place to harvest them. The best way is to boil them and then add butter and vinegar.

    1. I look forward to them now every year! Thanks for the preparation tip.

  2. Wow…these are new to me. I think they would make a pretty garnish. Not sure if I want to eat one though..blame it on my inner-child!

  3. Now What? That’s exactly what I would say. I’ve never had them. Happy FF.


  4. I’ve heard of them, but don’t think I’ve ever tried them – but with all of those antioxidents, it’s worth a try!

    I’m hosting a new meme called “Summer Sundays” and it’s all about what summer means to YOU.Maybe fiddlehead ferns???? Hope you’ll come and join us.

    – The Tablescaper

  5. And I was lucky enough to have gotten fed the stew! Yummy

  6. uummmmm…I don’t know. I guess I would have to try one before making a whole meal out of them.

  7. Billie Keirstead June 11, 2010 — 12:47 pm

    I saw lots of them when we were in NZ, but never on a menu or a plate! Can’t say I’ve seen them in Fla. or NC either, but I would try them with this recipe for brussels sprouts:
    Par boil sprouts, cut in half and saute in butter or olive oil until caramelized. Add capers and simmer a few minutes. Sprinkle freshly grated parmesan cheese and remove from heat and serve. Yummy.

    1. Hey, thanks for passing this on. My husband won’t eat brussels sprouts, but maybe I can trick him with this. He did eat the fiddleheads, by the way.

  8. Too sophisticated for this palate raised on bbq and Tex-Mex and Gulf Coast seafood. Ferns belong in the landscape, not my tummy!

  9. I think LLH is on to something! Glad you tried the stew. The photo reminds me of NZ. Wonder if they eat them there? Seems like they would 🙂

    1. You’re right about New Zealand. Kiwis like them, too.

  10. Apply the great rule of the South to those New England delicacies: everything tastes better FRIED! Think of okra!

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