Fiddlehead ferns are a highly nutritious and delicious wild plant that many people look forward to when winter ends, myself included. Once cooked, the risk of foodborne illness is eliminated and they can be eaten like any leafy green. There are many amazing and unique ways to use fiddleheads. Here are 10 fiddlehead recipes for when you have an abundance of this awesome wild plant!
Foraging & Wildcrafting
If you’re new to foraging and wildcrafting, you might want to learn about the ethical and sustainable considerations involved. You can read more about it here: 9 Basic Principles of Ethical Wildcrafting for Beginners or if you want to learn more about cooking wild edible plants that surround us, check out my post: Wildcraft a Feast of Invasive Edible Weeds: 25 Recipes
These tasty vegetable wonders are highly nutritious and should be eaten cooked. Like most greens, fiddleheads are full of antioxidants, Vitamin A and C, niacin iron, and fiber; they’re also a great source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
*Note: Some sources say that fiddleheads can be eaten raw in small amounts. Others claim that fiddleheads run the risk of carrying foodborne illness. For this reason, I always eat them cleaned and cooked thoroughly.
How to Clean
To prepare these yummy treats, the straight stalks and coiled tops should first be thoroughly washed in cold water to remove the papery scales. I usually fill up a clean sink and toss the fiddleheads in. Using my hands only I scrub away all the scales which end up floating to the top while the fiddleheads themselves sink to the bottom. I simply push the floating scales to the side and scoop up the clean fiddleheads.
How to Cook
My favorite way to eat fiddlehead ferns is steamed (10-12 minutes) or boiled (15 minutes) until tender and then lightly sauteed in butter with just a dash of salt. The flavor and texture are similar to asparagus and simply delicious!
Since I only ever harvest enough fiddleheads to make one tasty meal each spring, I never have enough to put away for later, but if I did, I would preserve them by blanching and freezing the way I do nettles or milkweed.
- First, thoroughly clean the fiddleheads as described
- Blanch the fiddleheads for two (2) minutes.
- Plunge the fiddleheads into cold water, and then drain.
- Discard the blanching water.
- Pack the drained fiddleheads in freezer containers or bags.
- Store in the freezer for up to one year.
- When you are ready to prepare the fiddleheads for eating, follow the cooking instructions as described above.
Below is a collection of fiddlehead recipes from around the web that are sure to please and satisfy all appetites.
Sauteed Fiddlehead Fern
This is a great recipe for fiddlehead ferns. It really brings out the natural flavor of these vegetables.
Fresh Fiddlehead Tart
Fiddleheads are baked into a delicious cheesy tart, perfect for your spring brunch.
Fiddlehead and Gruyere Tart
A fiddlehead and leek tart covered in melted gruyere on a light and flaky, golden brown phyllo crust.
Beer Battered Fiddleheads
This beer-battered deep-fried fiddlehead recipe in a beer batter brings out a creamy flavor of this spring plant.
Spring Lemon Risotto with Asparagus and Fiddlehead Ferns
Fiddleheads, asparagus, and (wild) leeks combine to form the Ultimate Ontario Springtime dish.
Fiddleheads With Pasta, Ricotta and Parmesan
Sauteed with garlic and olive oil, then tossed with pasta, ricotta, and parmesan for the perfect Spring dinner.
Fiddlehead and Mushroom Galette With Caramelized Onion Ricotta
Fiddlehead Tempura With Sriracha Creme Fraiche
Coated in a light, crispy tempura batter and served with a spicy dipping sauce, this spring treat elevates snacking to a new level.
Creamy Fiddlehead Soup with Chives
Celebrate the spring season with this creamy fiddlehead soup with chives. A perfect earthy flavored soup for those cool spring evenings.
Fiddlehead Frittata with Bacon & Chevre
Flavored with shallots, bacon, and creamy goat cheese, it works well for dinner or brunch!
Get Creative With Your Own Fiddlehead Recipes
One of the best things about fiddleheads is that they can be used in a wide variety of dishes. And while we’ve recommended some of our favorite fiddlehead recipes above, don’t hesitate to get creative and experiment with this delicious edible. After all, it’s hard to go wrong with this delicious wild edible!