Notice the brown covering and thick stalks
I debated about writing about these yet. 1. Because this will be the first year I will be looking for them myself. 2. I wanted to wait until I actually was out looking.
But I decided that since it seems we may have an early spring on our hands this year, I would go ahead and post, so that you could start looking too!
So, whats on today's menu? Fiddleheads! "What on earth is a fiddlehead?", you may ask. Well, even without looking you may have seen them if you have been out hiking during early Spring. A fiddlehead is the beginning of a newly sprouting fern. They get the name because they look like the heads of fiddles. There is only one type of edible fiddlehead, which comes from the Ostrich fern. Actually, all ferns have toxins in them, but this specific one has the least, and is very much edible. Make sure if you are out hunting you know exactly what you are looking for, because the rest are toxic. No ferns are deadly, but you will probably get something that can be compared to food poisoning, and let's face it, no one wants that.
Luckily, fiddleheads have two distinct features. A brown, papery covering will be on the ostrich ferns, which when you start to prepare to cook, must be completely washed off. They also have a deep "U" shape down the stalk, which is a dead giveaway. They tend to cluster in groups near rivers and streams. Fiddleheads can only be found in the Northeastern United States, and only for a few weeks at the beginning of Spring. Good news though! They come up the same time morels do!
Again, this will be the first year I have looked for them, and may come up empty handed. If I do find some, I will be sharing some recipes for them. They have been described as a green bean, mixed with asparagus, and nice and crispy. They can be used raw in salads, but I'm not really sure if I would. If you don't want to look yourself too, you may be able to find them in season at a farmer's market or a specialty food store, but what's the fun in that??
So, until next time...Happy Hunting!

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