The weeds of spring are delicate and delicious…just call them wild greens…and good for you, too! A rich source of Vitamins A and C. A blog entry from The Grist with recipes for what you might otherwise curse.
We had a call yesterday, asking for fiddlehead ferns. Fiddleheads are not a variety of fern…they are the tender, young, unfurled fronds of the fern…and an epicurean delicacy.
Not all varieties are particularly edible and some are toxic; so in our area harvest only Royal, Cinnamon and Ostrich Fern fiddleheads (the most aggressive of ferns, easily identified)….the tighter the better. Be sure not to cut the fronds to the ground, or to harvest more than half of a plant’s fronds or there will be no new growth. One and a half to two inches of stem beneath the coil is about right. Remove the papery chaff by rolling in your hands under a running faucet. Wash several times with cold water and pat dry gently. Use soon after harvest, or keep refrigerated for a day or so.
There are many creative recipes out there, but to my taste the simpler is usually the better. Fiddleheads have their own distinct flavor, somewhat like asparagus. Saute or steam lightly to retain their crisp texture and shape and so they don’t dry out. Sprinkle with salt, lemon, or vinaigrette. Or eat them uncooked in salads or all by themselves. They are a concentrated source of Vitamins A and C, niacin, iron, potassium and other minerals.
The window is short…you’ll find fiddleheads from mid April to early May.