April 30, 2009

I've always wanted to try fiddleheads, the cute curly tips of ferns, but had never had them. Then we saw them last weekend at our farmer's market and I jumped joyously like a six year old girl when I saw them. There in a basket at the forager's stand sat the fresh woodland edibles, along with other interesting woodsie treats I'd never seen.

Fiddleheads are only available for about a 2-week period (now), so we eagerly gathered up the greenest and most tightly curled ones and plopped them in our bag. "They kind of taste like asparagus, maybe slightly more bitter," the forager told us. We were instructed to blanch them first to help remove the bitterness, then simply sauté them with a bit of garlic. She then proceeded to educate us on the numerous other goodies she had foraged.

I love the idea of foraging. When I think of foragers I think of forest nymphs - creatures that flit and flee amongst the trees while collecting magical foods we never find in supermarkets. One minute you see them, then the next they disappear into the depths of the woods, never telling a soul where they find their loot. At least that's the way I imagine them - as mythical creatures who come out on weekends to share their magical bounty.

In my next life perhaps I'll be a forager -  just so I can singsong, "I forage the forest for fiddleheads."



Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)'s picture

Today there is just enough rain that the fiddleheads should begin to pop up. I'll be out foraging along the roadside tomorrow!

Eden's picture

In New Zealand, the curly sprout of a fern is called koru and is symbolic of new life. Search Koru for ideas to decorate your table when serving the fiddleheads.

Rosebud's picture

What a beautiful photo, and what a surprise that they are edible. It makes me want to go out in my garden after our rain yesterday and eat all the newly sprouted fiddleheads. Bon Appetit.

Nancy's picture

I adore fiddleheads. My favorite ways to cook them are sauteed with garlic (most any recipe in my house has garlic in it!) or with tamari.

Thanks for the nudge; I need to get to the produce store to look for some!

Lori's picture

I just tried some fiddleheads today for the first time and found them quite charming!

Too bad they have such a short season!