Mini-MFC Adventure: Fiddleheading

Caveat: No, this isn’t about a farm, but it is local food, so the general consensus is that you should read this anyway. 

So, it’s actually about two weeks post-when-I-went-fiddlheading. You have every right to be slightly frustrated at my lackadaisical posting on this. But, so it goes, and now you’ll be fully prepped for next season!

I have never been fiddleheading before. I have never eaten fiddleheads before. In fact, the only thing I knew about them was they looked entirely unappetizing. But a wonderful lady at my place of employment invited my toddler and I go to fiddlehead-picking, so of course, I accepted happily.

The fiddleheads that the lovely work lady knew about were down a railroad track about a mile, and then along a riverbed for a few hundred feet.

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Here are some things that you should know about fiddleheading:

1. If you are going to go pick them, you need to head to a riverbed, somewhere swampy/wet, shady, etc.

1A. This entails either wearing proper footwear like boots, or if you’re like me and entirely unprepared, you will want to shed your cute moccasins and go barefoot.

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2. You should go with someone who knows their wild plants. Luckily, the lovely work lady was full of knowledge and experience.

2A. ***I am not a professional fiddleheader. PLEASE make sure you pick EDIBLE plants. Bring a reference book. I don’t want to hear horror stories about eating poisonous not-fiddleheads.**

3. You should not pick ones that are dark red/brown.

4. You should not pick ones that are covered in white fuzz. Yuck.

5. They should look like this:

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Ok, so once you’ve picked a sufficient amount of these, you cook them. Or in my case, you make your best friend cook them.

Steps to cooking fiddleheads: (In my own, personal, flawed experience. Should you have recipes you love, please share them!)

Step One: Pick fiddleheads. (Or buy them at your local farm stand, but where’s the fun in that?)

Step Two: Pick the brownish stuff off of them.

Step Three: Boil two pots of water simultaneously, enough to completely submerge the fiddleheads.

Step Four: Put ALL fiddleheads in ONE pot. Boil for three to five minutes.

Step Five: Drain. Put ALL fiddleheads in SECOND pot. Boil for three to five minutes.

Step Six: Drain. Put in a wok or pan with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and other spices that you find appealing. Sautee them for a few minutes until they’re at a good tenderness. You’re gonna have to test it. (There are a MILLION ways to cook these, look variations up!)

Step Seven: Take a bite!

My conclusion?

Well, they taste a lot like asparagus. They are also an awful lot of work. But it’s a lot of fun to go traipsing around in the woods picking edible plants. They’re super tasty if you dig on green things, and you can pair them with anything. And seriously, how satisfying is it to harvest your own foodstuffs?

Oh, and next time I’ll probably wear shoes of some sort.

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