Posted on: May 1, 2018
Only available in Maine from late April to early June, Fiddleheads are the coiled tips of young ostrich ferns that grow near brooks, rivers and lakes. Because they are the furled fronds of a young fern, the window for harvesting them is small. Left on the plant, each fiddlehead would unroll into a fern. To many Mainers, they are a delicious vegetable with a woodsy taste like asparagus, spinach and mushrooms combined. They are high in vitamins A and C, rich with assorted minerals and low in calories. Fiddleheads have antioxidant activity, are high in iron and fiber and are a source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids! Can we call them a superfood?
Won’t be in Maine this Spring? No worries! The ostrich fern can be found in northern regions worldwide, and the central and eastern part of North America. Farmers markets from Idaho to the Pacific Northwest are full of them right now with huge harvest concentrations in Oregon and Washington. There are ferns and every single forest. You can even find them in city parks! Just remember, not all are edible so make sure you are looking for the right ferns!
Please harvest responsibly! When picking fiddleheads, it is recommended to take only half the tops per cluster for sustainable harvest. Repeated over-picking will eventually kill the plant. Sustainably harvesting them allows us to enjoy them each and every spring!
Now are you ready to enjoy this local favorite and Moosehead Must Try? Join us on May 12th for Fiddlehead Harvesting 101 with catered lunch, cooking demonstration and tasting! Spots are limited for this hands on experience, so grab your spot today!
You will learn from local fiddlehead forager Monica Bates as she shows us how to gather our own fiddleheads! Once we have learned where to look, as well as what to pick and what not to pick, we will have a demonstration on a variety of ways to prepare these native Maine treats with Greenville’s own Northwoods Gourmet Girl, Abby Freethy. Everyone is guaranteed to go home with at least a quart of fiddleheads to prepare yourself!
Fiddleheads can also be blanched and frozen to enjoy year round! Some even save their last batches for Christmas! The can also be pickled! Yet, if you haven’t had them fresh, start there!