I couldn't get any more local than my backyard! This past weekend, the fiddleheads were ready to be picked.
Even if you don't have access to them in the wild, I did see both Sobeys and Superstore had some local fiddleheads for purchase.
So what are they and how do you prepare them? These are the same questions I had last year.
Fiddleheads are the young tender tightly furled new-growth shoots of the ostrich fern. I suggest you watch the video below to make sure, if you're out picking them yourself you're picking the right ones. Some ferns are poisonous to eat. I have those in my backyard too! I was so nervous when I first went foraging, but once you compare the pictures you'll see they are very easy to recognize.
Fiddleheads taste similar to asparagus. The most important note about preparation is they need to be boiled or steamed first before you use them in recipes. According to the University of Maine, that should be for 15 minutes to eliminate any possibility of foodborne illness.
Fiddelheads can then be sauteed in butter, added to omelets or frittatas, or even canned. I pickled mine and found other great recipes here.
Fiddleheads are high in antioxidants, vitamins (including A and C) , minerals and electrolytes (including potassium, iron, manganese and copper) and omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.
Eating locally grown and seasonal foods ensures you are getting the most nutrition out of your food. These fiddleheads were picked at the optimal time and didn't spend hours on a plane to get to my table. Eating local means we cut down on that carbon foot print as well.
My other favorite way to increase locally grown and seasonal foods in my diet is to stop by the local farmer's market. Those in my area of North Granville, PEI will be happy to know there is a new farmer's market in Stanley Bridge Wednesdays. It's worth a stop for Remy's bread!
Director of Teacher Training for the Maritime Yoga College and Registered Holistic Nutritionist.