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Simple Fiddlehead Ferns Vegetable Recipes

Fiddlehead Ferns

These elusive little gems are in season for only a few short weeks from late April to early May, the mud season, and the best place to find them is in Maine, although they do grow all along the East Coast and in some areas of the Pacific Northwest. The finest fiddleheads are plucked by hand by a few avid hunters, most of whom are extremely jealous of their private caches and will never tell where in the swampy marshes and damp hillocks of Maine or eastern Canada that they find them.

Usually, only the tiny, furled (like the scroll of a fiddle, hence the name), undeveloped shoots of the ostrich fern are eaten, although, in other countries, bracken are also cooked. Most other ferns are not dibble, and you must be very careful when buying the fresh variety as the wrong ones can be poisonous. There are canned fiddle heads, usually found in the gourmet section of large supermarkets or in specialty stores. In my estimation these canned fiddleheads are as unappetizing as canned spinach, but they might come in handy if you become addicted and simply must have fiddleheads. The canned variety should be rinsed and well drained before using. They usually have already been overcooked during the canning process, and will need very little additional preparation.

Fresh fiddleheads can be prepared much like asparagus, although I think they are too few and far between not to enjoy in as simple a manner as possible.

While fiddleheads are not readily enough available to seriously affect anyone's diet, they do provide a modicum of both vitamin A and vitamin C.

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