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Fiddlehead Ferns


  • Fiddlehead ferns are just what they sound like---they are little coiled-up fern fronds, called "fiddleheads" because their spiral shape resembles the spiral-curved end of a violin or fiddle. Around for only a short time in spring, fiddleheads have a deep green color and a flavor that resembles both asparagus and green beans. Some folks think they taste like okra, too. They are native to the Eastern United States, from Virginia all the way up to our Canadian neighbors in the north. When shopping for fiddleheads, choose ones that are firm and not at all slimy or yellow. After washing them under running water and trimming the cut end, you can steam, sauté or simmer them, either alone or with other spring vegetables. Some people like them in salads, but I prefer mine cooked, seasoned simply with butter, garlic and fresh herbs.