Fiddleheads are the curled, edible shoots of the ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). They are considered a seasonal delicacy in many parts of Canada. Fiddleheads are collected in the wild.
Under no circumstances should fiddleheads be eaten raw. Proper handling and thorough cooking of fiddleheads can reduce the risk of food borne illness.
Health benefits of fiddlehead ferns:
Nutritionally speaking, fiddleheads contain about 22 calories, 3 grams of carbohydrates, 2.8 grams of protein and 0.2 grams of fat per half cup serving. They owe their beta-carotene content to their deep green color. Fiddleheads also provide a good amount of vitamin C, niacin and potassium.
A unique characteristic of fiddleheads is they have very high iron content. Once the crop is harvested the exposed tip oxidizes. This turns the tip a brownish green color, this bit simply gets trimmed off during preparation for cooking and you have a rich, deep green and perfectly edible fiddleheads. Another unique characteristic of fiddleheads is that they contain twice the antioxidant activity of blueberries.
Dating back to early civilization the Aboriginals have been cashing in on the nutritional benefits of fiddleheads and have used the crop as an indicator of the changing seasons and the beginning of the early spring season.
Coconut Curry Fiddleheads & Chicken
3 tbsp. Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil
4 tbsp. curry powder
4 boneless chicken breast; cut in thick julienne
8oz fresh fiddleheads
1-1/2oz. carrots julienne
2 cloves of minced garlic
4tbsp. Coconut Cream Concentrate
salt and pepper to taste
- Boil fresh fiddleheads for approximately 8 minutes.
- In large saucepan, heat oil. While heating, add 2 tsp of curry powder to hot oil.
- In separate saucepan sauté onion, carrots and garlic until tender
- When the oil is heated, turn down the heat to medium-high, add chicken and cook for 2 minutes.
- When the chicken is perfectly seared and has taken the colour of the curry (yellowish green colour), add fiddleheads and carrots.
- Then add rest of curry powder and Coconut Cream Concentrate, stir well and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Finish off with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve Immediately.
Makes 4-6 servings
Sautéed Fiddlehead Ferns
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 servings
- 1 Tbsp. Himalayan salt, plus more to taste
- 1 pound fiddlehead ferns
- 2 tsp. Expeller pressed coconut oil
- 1 – 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or 1 small shallot, sliced (optional)
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (completely optional)
- Trim and rinse fiddleheads, removing any brown ends or mushy parts.
- In a large pot bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add salt and fiddleheads. Cook 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add fiddleheads. Cook, stirring, until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, if you like, and cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant and just starting to color, about 1 minute. Salt to taste. Serve immediately.
Spring Lemon Risotto with Asparagus and Fiddlehead Ferns
serves 4 to 6
1 1/2 cups fiddlehead ferns
1 1/2 cups asparagus tips
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons Expeller pressed coconut oil
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, washed well, and diced.
2 scallions, white parts only, washed and minced.
1 clove garlic minced
2 cups Einkorn Berries
1/2 cup dry white wine
approximately 5 1/2 cups hot vegetable or chicken stock
zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Start by preparing the vegetables. Boil a medium sized pot of water, and have ready a large bowl of ice water. Thoroughly wash the fiddlehead ferns, then rub them in a kitchen towel to remove any of the brown paper-like chaff. Cut off any brown tips or blemishes. Rinse again if necessary.
Blanch both the asparagus and fiddlehead ferns for about 2 minutes, until bright green, then plunge into the ice water bath to stop the cooking. Set aside.
Bring the broth to a simmer, then cover and keep warm over medium-low heat.
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, scallions, and garlic, and saute until tender and almost translucent — about 5 minutes.
Add Einkorn Berries, and stir. Add wine, and stir until liquid is almost completely absorbed. Add the warm stock by the cupful, stirring until Einkorn Berries have absorbed nearly all of the liquid before adding the next cup.
When Einkorn is almost done (about 45 minutes), stir in the blanched and drained vegetables and the lemon zest. Stir in the last 1/2 cup of stock, then add the cheese and remaining butter.
The risotto should be creamy and tender, and the vegetables cooked but with a remaining firm bite. Serve immediately.
1 lb. Fiddleheads Cleaned
½ lb. Shallots, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 ½ Cups Water
1 ½ Cups Wine Vinegar
3 tbsp Lemon Juice
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp Himalayan Salt
8 – 1 inch pieces of Ginger (optional)
1 tsp Whole Black Pepper
1 tsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Whole Allspice
4 Pint jars with lids and screw caps (sterilized)
- In a large pot of boiling water, blanch fiddleheads for 2 or 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Pack fiddleheads tightly into canning jars, layered with shallots and lemon zest.
- Bring to boil water, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt, spices, and optional ginger.
- Pour over fiddleheads so that liquid reaches to within a 1/4 inch of rim, then secure lids to fingertip tightness and process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.