Celebrate spring with these 15 Fiddlehead recipes! Fiddleheads only come around once a year, and for a short time, so make the most of them! In light of this, I have put together 15 recipes from my own collection and from my fellow food bloggers. Recipes include a cheesy fiddlehead soup, sautéed fiddleheads, pickled fiddleheads, a fiddlehead tart, a vegan potato salad with fiddleheads and more!
Fiddlehead season is a very short season, usually from late April to early June, depending on where you live. So you'll definitely want to take advantage of this short window by eating as many fiddleheads as possible! And since they also freeze well, I have included directions on freezing fiddleheads. That way, you can set some aside to enjoy throughout the entire year!
💭What is a Fiddlehead?
In essence, fiddleheads are edible ferns. Specifically, a fiddlehead is the emerging sprout of ostrich ferns – just as the fronds come out of the ground. They’re rolled up in a coil and look like the tuning end of a violin or fiddle. They are one of the coolest-looking plants around! And they have a delicate flavor and taste amazing- "sort of like fresh asparagus, but better," according to my daughter.
Like crocuses on the prairies, ostrich fern fiddleheads are one of the first signs of spring and personally, my favorite part. In North America, they are commonly found in forested areas in Eastern parts of Canada and the Pacific Northwest in the U.S. and parts of the western prairies, as well. Many areas also sell them in grocery stores or at the local farmers market.
🥘How to Cook Fiddleheads
STEPS FOR COOKING FIDDLEHEADS (DO NOT EAT THEM RAW!)
- Rinse the and clean fiddleheads, removing any brown paper skin from the tops, and then slice off as much of the brown parts on their ends as you can. Put the fiddleheads in a large bowl of water for a few minutes, swishing them around with your hands to remove any dirt. * I rub the coils to loosen any dirt as well. Discard the water and repeat this process.
- Add to pot of cold salted water and bring to a boil. *If you plan to freeze them, see below, as you'll only need to boil them for 2 minutes.
- Boil on a rolling boil for at least 12 minutes (*make sure you time it from the time the water is at a full boil) but no longer than 15 minutes.
- Drain and pat dry. * They will be a little darker green in color (like green beans). They are now ready to cook with.
🌡️How to Freeze Fiddleheads
Because Ostrich fern fiddleheads only come around once a year and the season is short, I like to buy a lot and freeze them. However, they require blanching (quick cooking, then plunging into cold water prior to freezing).
TO PREPARE FIDDLEHEADS FOR FREEZING:
- Follow the above steps 1 and 2,
- When you get to step 3, only boil for 2 minutes (not 12-15).
- Immediately put into a bowl of ice cold water.
- Remove with a slotted spoon onto paper towel and pat dry with more paper towel.
- Freeze in freezer bags for up to 6 months.
- *IMPORTANT: When you remove them from the freezer you MUST BOIL FOR at least 10 MINUTES BEFORE EATING (OTHERWISE THEY ARE NOT SAFE TO EAT)
- Cook fiddleheads in boiling water for at least 15 minutes before consuming.
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- See more guidelines at USDA.gov and Health Canada
❔ Frequently Asked Questions
Fiddleheads can be purchased at farmer's markets and some grocery stores.
Fiddleheads have a very fresh taste that's similar to asparagus.
NO - you cannot eat fiddleheads raw, as they can make you very sick. They need to be boiled for 12-15 minutes before consumption.
If fiddleheads are also one of your favorite things about spring and you're looking for interesting and delicious ways to enjoy them, give some of these fiddlehead recipes a try!