Its name may sound like a musical instrument, but fiddleheads are the curly tips of a baby fern that can only be foraged from the wild in the Northeast and Great Lakes states.
Fiddleheads emerge only in Spring, pushing their way from the forest floor as they uncurl slowly. Right before they uncurl, they are harvested by expert foragers as not all ferns are edible and some are poisonous. They look like the green letter “P” with a scale-like covering on the uncoiled fern.
Fiddleheads must be washed and thoroughly cooked before eating, as raw fiddleheads contain a toxin that causes stomach pain in humans when consumed. They should be boiled or steamed prior to other methods of cooking like sautéeing or frying. After it is cooked, fiddleheads can be served at once or also be chilled and served in a salad. They are tender and taste like a cross between a green bean and an asparagus.
They are incredibly nutritious! Fiddleheads are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, and has twice the antioxidant quality of blueberries.