Fiddleheads are young, curled tips of the ostrich fern. They are in season during mid to late spring. While you can sometimes find fiddleheads for sale at local grocery stores or farmers’ markets, walking nature trails in BC’s Coastal, Kootenay, and Nechako regions will place you ready to spot wild fiddleheads ripe for the picking. Note: foraging is not allowed in BC Provincial Parks.
Next time you go for a nature walk, try to point out fiddleheads! Identifying edible plants takes practice. While many BC wild plants are edible, others can cause food poisoning. Use a plant identification guide or see if your community offers beginner foraging tours with experienced guides. Always be prepared when hiking – pack the ten essentials!
How to Cook Fiddleheads
Fiddleheads work deliciously in place of (or alongside) other green vegetables like asparagus. Not only do they add a taste of spring to meals, they’re also a source for nutrients like iron and potassium.
Eating raw or undercooked fiddleheads can cause food poising. So, before adding them to recipes, cook fiddleheads following Health Canada’s instructions:
- Take off as much of the brown husk on fiddleheads as possible with your hands.
- Wash fiddleheads in at least 3 changes of cold water.
- Boil a large amount of water. Add clean fiddleheads and boil for 15 minutes or steam for 12 minutes until tender.
- Dump out the water used for boiling.
Read more food safety tips for cooking and storing fiddleheads here.
Check out these three mouth-watering recipes to try this spring:
- Cream of Fiddlehead Soup: serve this soup with toasted wholegrain bread.
- Stir-fried Sesame Fiddleheads: make rice and lentils, dish them into a bowl and add this side dish on top to make it a meal.
- Creamy Fiddlehead and Cheese Casserole: add other favourite veggies to this recipe for your own personalized take on it.