Fiddleheads

We’ve tried another Vermont delicacy. Olive, who is an old-time Vermonter makes a delicious wild salad made of greens and blooms she gleans from the woods. I’ve eaten fiddleheads in her salad and asked her to take me along fiddlehead picking when she went this Spring. Today was that day.

Fiddleheads are fern fronds as they are just coming up out of the ground, so named because they look like the curled scroll of the fiddle or violin. Not all ferns are edible, only the Ostrich Fern, and only when the fronds are first coming up.

We picked in a damp place just off the dirt road on the property of an acquaintance. Olive gets permission to pick here every year and it is a prime spot. It is a large cleared area where the ferns grow thickly and there are lots to choose from. We filled our bags in no time. The shoots are tender at this stage and easily picked by pinching off with your fingers.

It is important to get rid of the papery brown sheath that covers the fiddlehead as it comes up. Once that is off, a good washing is all that’s needed before blanching. I boiled mine for 5 minutes and served them with a little butter and salt. Mmm, they were yummy!

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