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?
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