Spring Fiddleheads


2 pounds fiddlehead ferns
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste


Blanch the cleaned, picked-over fiddleheads in a large pot of lightly salted water for about 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold water. Heat the butter in a skillet and saute the garlic and shallots until aromatic but not browned. Add fiddleheads and saute another 1 to 2 minutes. Season with lemon juice and salt and pepper, and serve immediately.


Makes 6 servings.


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What are these, and how do they grow? They look like a green bean with fuzz...

Cool! Hadn't ever heard of

Cool! Hadn't ever heard of any part of ostrich ferns being edible. Can't wait to sample them once they emerge this Spring.

I have picked and eaten

I have picked and eaten fiddleheads every spring for over twenty years. Due to the fact that they are wild ferns they should be boiled for at least fifteen minutes. There have been cases where people have become ill after eating when they have been cooked for only a few minutes or sautéed only. With regards to cleaning the fiddleheads, especially with a quantity, it is easier on a screen outdoors with a garden hose.

Do these grow as far south as

Do these grow as far south as NE Fla?

I harvest about 20lbs of wild

I harvest about 20lbs of wild fiddleheads a year and freeze them because the season is so short. I think the key to having the perfectly cooked fiddlehead is in the preparation rather than the cooking process. Fill both double sinks with water, swish them in one, then, using your hands (because a strainer would only get clogged with chaff)transfer them to the other. Drain the first sink, fill with water and repeat several times until the water is clean of chaff. The tips oxidize so a quick trim is required. A blanche in 2 minutes boiling water followed by a cold rinse is all you need to eat them as is or use in a favourite recipe.

My wife and I boil the

My wife and I boil the fiddleheads three times discarding the water after each boiling. When they come to a boil the third time they are ready. We eat them with Hollandaise sauce. Quite delicious. Local supermarkets in the Concord, MA area stock them until about mid-May. Fiddleheads are native to northern New England although you can get them elsewhere.

I've growen Ostrich Ferns for

I've growen Ostrich Ferns for years, never knew you could eat them. And I'm a vegetarian!

I've never heard of them.

I've never heard of them. Where do you get them or find them?

Hi Ann, fiddleheads are the

The Editors's picture

Hi Ann, fiddleheads are the curled up fronds of immature ostrich ferns. They are only edible in this stage, and they have a taste that some compare to asparagus. They are usually only available through mid-May, check with your local grocer or farmer's market.

These are so delicious.

These are so delicious.