Published April 2017
Each spring a fiddlehead frenzy takes over New Brunswick. The curled, edible shoots of the ostrich fern pop up along marshy riverbanks and they’re ripe for the picking. It’s a local tradition to go ‘fiddleheading’ and you’ll see them in roadside stands, restaurants, and everywhere in between.
Never heard of ‘em? Fiddleheads taste similar to asparagus or artichokes… kind of. (Either way, they’re delicious.) Here are 5 steps to picking and preparing your own.
Step 1: Forage for Fiddleheads
Look for bright green fiddle-shaped shoots growing in clumps among twigs and leaves in marshy lands. You want the ones with tightly coiled heads (known as the crozier), about 4-6 inches in height.
Follow the River Valley Scenic Drive from late-April through May for the best spots to go fiddleheading.
Step 2: Fill Your Bucket
Using a twisting motion similar to picking an apple off a tree, place your thumb and forefinger around the middle of the fiddlehead stalk, give it a good twist – and snap! - off comes the fiddlehead. Toss in your bucket and head for the next patch.
Step 3: Give Your Fiddleheads a Good Rinse
Clean them in the river or clean them at home; either way you’ll want to rid the fiddleheads of their papery brown shell and any debris that may have found its way into the feathery ferns.
Step 4: Cook ‘em Up
Just like any green stalky vegetable, fiddleheads can be steamed, blanched or boiled - just be sure to cook them through to avoid any stomach discomfort. Always discard the cooking water when you’re done. About 15 minutes is best for boiling. Try 10-12 minutes for steaming.
Step 5: Dig in!
Take things to the next level with these recipes from Chefs Alain Bossé and Paula Lentz of Cafe Flora at the New Brunswick Botanical Garden.
Do you plan on going fiddleheading this year? Share your pics with #ExploreNB!