covering on the uncoiled fern, as well as the smooth fern stem, and the deep ”U”-shaped groove on the inside of the fern stem. Look for ostrich ferns emerging in clusters of about three to twelve fiddleheads each on the banks of rivers, streams, and brooks in Mid April till the end of May. They are supposedly the first “green vegetable” of the year but I can say that the skunk cabbage has been growing since last week and there is no one eating that stuff, the fiddlehead fern heads are tightly coiled and get their name because they look like the coiled head piece of a fiddle. Once the fiddleheads uncoil then they are no longer edible and (toxic) so the season is (over).
They taste a little earthy, and have a slight similarity to asparagus. You pick (cut) them, rub the brown papery chaff off the outer layer of the coil. Rinse well under the faucet then let them soak in cold water, change the water a couple of times, then remove the dark bottom edge of the uncoiled fern stem. To cook the fiddlehead, you can boil, steam or sauté.
To boil, bring lightly salted water in a pot to a rolling boil and add washed fiddleheads. The water should fully cover them. Bring water back to a steady boil and hold for 12 minutes. Remove from water then Blanch in ice water for two minutes. Strain
from and dry well. Serve with melted butter or my favorite a light sprinkle of Cains Balsamic Vinegar dressing. They are a tasty seasonal treat that made a believer out of me and gave me new ties to traditional New England roots and the enjoyment of foraging. I am glad I live in an area where fiddleheads are not serious business. I remember watching the show on TV and they spoke of how the forager’s keep their locations carefully guarded secrets. I think that those of you that know Helene and me and where we take our weekly Sunday morning walk got a pretty good idea of this area.