For just a month every spring, bright green, tightly coiled tips of fresh young ostrich ferns spring from the soil. Called fiddleheads for their resemblance to the curved scrolls on the end of stringed instruments, these harbingers of spring send foragers – and our winter weary taste buds – into a frenzy.
Fiddleheads taste like spring – a fresh and grassy cross between asparagus and young spinach – and pack a nutritional punch of antioxidants, vitamin C, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; iron, fibre and potassium. A 100-gram serving contains about 34 calories and 4.6 grams of protein.
Enjoy fiddleheads the same day you bring them home to optimize their delicate flavour and crisp texture. Rinse gently and thoroughly to remove any grit and, if you must store them, wrap in a paper towel then in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge.
- Lightly steam or sauté in (grass fed) butter ‘til just tender-crisp, and spritz with fresh lemon juice.
- Drizzle with hollandaise for decadence.
- Pair with sautéed mushrooms in scrambled eggs, quiches and omelets.
- Cooked then freeze or pickle (Nature’s Fare Head Chef Nick Johnston’s favourite) to enjoy year ‘round.
Health Canada advises against eating fiddleheads raw as they can cause digestive upsets in large quantities.