The fiddlehead fern is a tightly coiled vegetable that is considered a gourmet delight! Fiddlehead ferns arrive early spring and can be found across northern parts of the United States and most of Canada. The fern has a flavor similar to asparagus and contains toxic compounds that could make you sick if not cooked properly!
Look for a tight coil and only an inch or two of stem beyond the coil. Choose small, firm, brightly colored fiddlehead ferns with no signs of softness or yellowing.
Fresh fiddleheads keep well cooled and tightly wrapped to prevent drying out for up to 3 days. However, they are best used as soon as possible after harvest.
Fiddleheads can be dangerous to eat raw and should be cooked before eating. To safely cook fiddleheads, wash them several times and boil them for 10-20 minutes until they are tender. Boiling can help retain its color and texture and remove the bitterness. Discard all the water used to wash and prepare them. Fiddleheads can be baked or sauteéd, but must be boiled first! Once cooked, you can enjoy them hot or cold and add them to a fresh salad, slaw, pasta, soup and stew.
Fiddlehead ferns are fat free, saturated free, cholesterol free, sodium free, a good source of vitamin B2, copper, phosphorous and potassium. An excellent source of vitamin B3 and C and manganese.