fiddleheads
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Fiddleheads or fiddlehead greens are the furled
frond A frond is a large, divided leaf A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant plant stem, stem, usually borne above ground and specialized for photosynthesis. The leaves, stem, flower and fruit tog ...

frond
s of a young
fern A fern (Polypodiopsida or Polypodiophyta ) is a member of a group of vascular plant Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheophytes , from Greek τραχεῖα ἀρτηρία ''trācheia art ...

fern
, harvested for use as a
vegetable Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans or other animals as food. The original meaning is still commonly used and is applied to plants collectively to refer to all edible plant matter, including the flowers A flower, som ...

vegetable
. Left on the plant, each fiddlehead would unroll into a new
frond A frond is a large, divided leaf A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant plant stem, stem, usually borne above ground and specialized for photosynthesis. The leaves, stem, flower and fruit tog ...

frond
(
circinate vernation Vernation (from ''vernal'' meaning ''spring'', since that is when leaves spring forth in temperate regions) is the formation of new leaf, leaves or fronds. In plant anatomy, it is the arrangement of leaves in a bud. In pine species, new leaves are ...

circinate vernation
). As fiddleheads are harvested early in the season before the frond has opened and reached its full height, they are cut fairly close to the ground. Fiddleheads have antioxidant activity, are a source of
omega-3 Omega−3 fatty acids, also called Omega-3 oils, ω−3 fatty acids or ''n''−3 fatty acids, are polyunsaturated fatty acid Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are fatty acids that contain more than one double bond in their backbone. This ...
and
omega-6 Omega-6 fatty acids (also referred to as ω-6 fatty acids or ''n''-6 fatty acids) are a family of polyunsaturated fatty acidsPolyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are fatty acids that contain more than one double bond in their backbone. This ...
fatty acids, and are high in iron and fiber. Certain varieties of fiddleheads have been shown to be
carcinogenic A carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide A radionuclide (radioactive nuclide, radioisotope or radioactive isotope) is a nuclide A nuclide (or nucleide, from atomic nucleus, nucleus, also known as nuclear species) is a class of atoms characte ...
(see
bracken toxicity
bracken toxicity
). The fiddlehead resembles the curled ornamentation (called a ''scroll'') on the end of a stringed instrument, such as a
fiddle A fiddle is a bowed string String or strings may refer to: *String (structure), a long flexible structure made from threads twisted together, which is used to tie, bind, or hang other objects Arts, entertainment, and media Films * String ...

fiddle
. It is also called a crozier, after the
curved staff
curved staff
used by
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...

bishop
s, which has its origins in the
shepherd's crook A shepherd's crook is a long and sturdy stick with a hook at one end, often with the point flared outwards, used by a shepherd A shepherd or sheepherder is a person who tends, herds, feeds, or guards herds of sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'' ...
.


Varieties

The fiddleheads of certain ferns are eaten as a cooked
leaf vegetable Leaf vegetables, also called leafy greens, salad greens, pot herbs, vegetable greens, or simply greens, are plant leaves A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant plant stem, stem, usually borne ...
. The most popular of these are: *
Bracken Bracken (''Pteridium'') is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxon ...
, ''Pteridium aquilinum'', found worldwide (Toxic if not cooked fully) *
Ostrich fern ''Matteuccia'' is a genus of ferns with one species: ''Matteuccia struthiopteris'' (common names ostrich fern, fiddlehead fern, or shuttlecock fern). The species epithet ''struthiopteris'' comes from Ancient Greek words () "ostrich" and () "fer ...
, ''Matteuccia struthiopteris'', found in northern regions worldwide, and the central/eastern part of North America '' (Health Warning)'' *
Lady fern
Lady fern
, ''Athyrium filix-femina'', throughout most of the temperate northern hemisphere. *
Cinnamon fern ''Osmundastrum'' is genus of leptosporangiate ferns in the family Osmundaceae with one living species, ''Osmundastrum cinnamomeum'', the cinnamon fern. It is native to the Americas and eastern Asia, growing in swamps, bogs and moist woodlands. I ...

Cinnamon fern
or buckhorn fern, ''Osmunda cinnamomea'', found in the eastern parts of
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
, although not so palatable as ostrich fern. *
Royal fern
Royal fern
, ''Osmunda regalis'', found worldwide * Midin, or ''
Stenochlaena ''Stenochlaena'' is a genus of ferns of the plant family Blechnaceae. Six species were formally accepted in an April 2013 scientific review of the genus, first written some years earlier and submitted in 2009. One additional species ''S. hainanen ...
palustris'', found in
Sarawak Sarawak (; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Sarawak
, where it is prized as a local delicacy * ''Zenmai'' or
flowering fern ''Osmunda regalis'', or royal fern, is a species of deciduous fern, native plant, native to Europe, Africa and Asia, growing in woodland bogs and on the banks of streams. The species is sometimes known as flowering fern due to the appearance of i ...
, ''Osmunda japonica'', found in
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia, which is defined in both Geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The modern State (polity), states of East Asia include China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. ...

East Asia
*
Vegetable fern ''Diplazium esculentum'', the vegetable fern, is an edible fern found throughout Asia and Oceania. It is probably the most commonly consumed fern. The genus ''Diplazium'' is in the family Athyriaceae, in the eupolypods II clade of the order Pol ...

Vegetable fern
, ''Athyrium esculentum'', found throughout Asia and
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
Fiddleheads' ornamental value makes them very expensive in the temperate regions where they are not abundant.


Sources and harvesting

Available seasonally, fiddleheads are both foraged and commercially harvested in spring. When picking fiddleheads, it is recommended to take only one third the tops per plant/cluster for sustainable harvest. Each plant produces several tops that turn into fronds; repeated over-picking will eventually kill the plant. Maintaining sustainable harvesting methods is important in the propagation of any non-farmed food species.


Culinary uses

Fiddleheads have been part of traditional diets in much of Northern
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
since the beginning of the Middle Ages, across
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
, and also among
Native Americans Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
for centuries. They are also part of the diet in the
Russian Far East The Russian Far East ( rus, Дальний Восток России, r=Dal'niy Vostok Rossii, p=ˈdalʲnʲɪj vɐˈstok rɐˈsʲiɪ) is a region in Northeast Asia Northeast Asia or Northeastern Asia is a geographical subregion of Asia ...

Russian Far East
where they are often picked in the wild in autumn, preserved in salt over winter, and then consumed in spring.


Asian cuisine

In Indonesia, young fiddlehead ferns are cooked in a rich coconut sauce spiced with
chili pepper The chili pepper (also chile, chile pepper, chilli pepper, or chilli), from Nahuatl Nahuatl (; ),The Classical Nahuatl word (noun stem ''nāhua'', + absolutive ''-tl'' ) is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has se ...

chili pepper
,
galangal Galangal () is a common name for several tropical rhizomatous spices. Differentiation The word ''galangal'', or its variant ''galanga'', can refer in common usage to the aromatic rhizome In botany Botany, also called , plant biolog ...

galangal
,
lemongrass ''Cymbopogon'', also known as lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, Cochin grass, Malabar grass, oily heads, citronella grass or fever grass, is a genus of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located prim ...

lemongrass
,
turmeric Turmeric (pronounced , also ) is a flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: ...
leaves and other spices. This dish is called ''gulai pakis'' or ''gulai paku'', and originated from the
MinangkabauMinangkabau may refer to: * Minangkabau culture, culture of the Minangkabau people * Minangkabau Culture Documentation and Information Center * Minangkabau F.C., a football club based in Padang, West Sumatra * Minangkabau Highlands, West Sumatra * Mi ...
ethnic group of
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
. In the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
, young fronds of ''
Diplazium esculentum ''Diplazium esculentum'', the vegetable fern, is an edible fern A fern (Polypodiopsida or Polypodiophyta ) is a member of a group of vascular plant Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheo ...
'' or ''pakô'' is a delicacy often made into a salad with tomato,
salted egg A salted duck egg is an Asian cuisine, Asian preserved food product made by soaking duck egg (food), eggs in brine, or packing each egg in damp, salted charcoal. In Asian supermarkets, these eggs are sometimes sold covered in a thick layer of sa ...

salted egg
slices, and a simple vinaigrette dressing. In East Asia, fiddleheads of bracken (''
Pteridium aquilinum ''Pteridium aquilinum'' (bracken Bracken (''Pteridium'') is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of nami ...

Pteridium aquilinum
'') are eaten as a vegetable, called ''kogomi'' () in Japan, ''gosari'' () in Korea, and ''juécài'' () in China and
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
. In
Korea Korea is a region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (environmental ...

Korea
, a typical ''
banchan ''Banchan'' (, from Korean: ) or bansang is a collective name for small side dish A side dish, sometimes referred to as a side order, side item, or simply a side, is a food item that accompanies the entrée An entrée (, ; ) in modern F ...

banchan
'' (small side dish) is ''gosari-namul'' (), which consists of prepared fernbrake fiddleheads that have been sauteed. It is also a component of the popular dish ''
bibimbap Bibimbap ( , from Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans, ethnic group originating in the Korean Peninsula * Korean cuisine * Korean culture * Korean language **Korean alphabet, known as Hangul or Chosŏn'gŭl **Korean dial ...

bibimbap
'', ''
yukgaejang ''Yukgaejang'' (, 肉개醬) or spicy beef soup is a spicy, soup Soup is a primarily liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, ...
'', and ''
bindae-tteok ''Bindae-tteok'' (), or mung bean pancake, is a type of ''buchimgae ''Buchimgae'' (), or Korean pancake, refers broadly to any type of pan-fried ingredients soaked in egg or a batter mixed with other ingredients. More specifically, it is a dis ...

bindae-tteok
''. In
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
, bracken fiddleheads are a prized dish, and roasting the fiddleheads is reputed to neutralize any toxins in the vegetable. In Japan, fiddleheads of flowering fern (''
Osmunda japonica ''Osmunda japonica'' (syn. ''Osmunda nipponica'' Tomitaro Makino, Makino), also called Asian royal fern, is a fern in the genus ''Osmunda'' native to east Asia, including Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, and the far east of Russia on Sakhalin. It is ...

Osmunda japonica
''), known as ''zenmai'' (), as well as those of the ostrich fern (''
Matteuccia struthiopteris ''Matteuccia'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circu ...

Matteuccia struthiopteris
''), known as ''kogomi'' (), are commonly eaten in springtime. Fiddleheads in Japan are considered ''
sansai is a Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory ...

sansai
'', or wild vegetables. They are also traditionally used to make ''
warabimochi is a wagashi (Japanese confection) made from warabiko (bracken starch) and covered or dipped in ''kinako ''Kinako'' ( or ) is roasted Soy flour, soybean flour, a product commonly used in Japanese cuisine. In English, it is usually called "ro ...
,'' a Japanese-style dessert.


Indian cuisine

In the Indian subcontinent, it is found in the states of
North North is one of the four compass points The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydro ...

North
and
Northeast India Northeast India (officially North Eastern Region, NER) is the easternmost region of India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-large ...

Northeast India
. In the state of
Tripura Tripura () is a States and territories of India, state in northeastern India. The third-smallest state in the country, it covers and is bordered by Bangladesh to the north, south, and west, and the Indian states of Assam and Mizoram to the e ...

Tripura
, it is known as Muikhonchok in the
Kokborok Kokborok (also known as Tripuri or Tiprakok) is the main native language of the Tripuri people The Tripuri (also known as Tipra, Tiprasa, Twipra) are an ethnic group originating in the Indian state of Tripura. They are the original inhabita ...
language. As part of the
Tripuri cuisine Tripuri cuisine is the type of food served in Tripura Tripura () is a States and territories of India, state in northeastern India. The third-smallest state in the country, it covers and is bordered by Bangladesh to the north, south, and ...
; fiddlehead fern is prepared by stir frying as bhaja served as a side dish. In Mandi (Himachal Pradesh) it is called Lingad and used for vegetable pickling, In the
Kullu Valley Kullu Valley is a broad open valley in Himachal Pradesh Himachal Pradesh (; ; "Province of the Snow-laden Mountains") is a States and union territories of India, state in the northern part of India. Situated in the Western Himalayas, it i ...

Kullu Valley
in
Himachal Pradesh Himachal Pradesh (; ; "Province of the Snow-laden Mountains") is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper ...

Himachal Pradesh
, it is known locally as and is used to make a pickle . In the
Kangra Valley Kangra Valley is situated in the Western Himalayas Western Himalaya refers to the western half of the Himalayas The Himalayas, or Himalaya (); Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''sa ...
it is called in the
Kangri dialect Kangri (Takri script, Takri: ) is an Indo-Aryan language variety spoken in northern India, predominantly in the Kangra district, Kangra, Hamirpur district, Himachal Pradesh, Hamirpur and Una district, Una districts of Himachal Pradesh and in the Gu ...
and is eaten as vegetable. In it is known as "Kasrod". In the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand it is called limbra. In
Garhwal division Garhwal (IPA: /ɡəɽʋːɔɭ/) is one of the two administrative divisions of the Indian States and territories of India, state of Uttarakhand. Lying in the Himalayas, it is bounded on the north by Tibet, on the east by Kumaon division, Kumaon ...
of
Uttarakhand Uttarakhand ( , or ; , lit. 'Northern Land'), formerly known as Uttaranchal ( ), is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the "Devbhumi" (literally "Land of the Gods") due to its religious significance and numerous ...

Uttarakhand
, it is called and eaten as a vegetable. In
Darjeeling Darjeeling (, ) is a city and a municipality in the Indian States and union territories of India, state of West Bengal. It lies in the Lesser Himalayas at an elevation of . It is noted for its tea industry, its scenic views of the world's thi ...

Darjeeling
and
Sikkim Sikkim (; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Sikkim
regions, it is called (नियुरो) and is common as a vegetable side dish, often mixed with local cheese. and sometimes pickled. In
Assam Assam (, ) is a state in Northeast India, northeastern India, south of the eastern Himalayas along the Brahmaputra Valley, Brahmaputra and Barak River valleys. Assam covers an area of . The state is bordered by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh to ...

Assam
, it is known as (); there it is a popular side dish. In the area of
Jammu Jammu is the winter capital Some countries have multiple capitals. In some cases, one city is the capital for some purposes, and one or more others are capital for other purposes, without any being considered an official capital in preferen ...

Jammu
in
Jammu and Kashmir Jammu and Kashmir may refer to: * Kashmir Kashmir, ks, کٔشیٖر, kaśīr () is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley The ...
, it's known as ''kasrod'' (कसरोड). The most famous
Dogra The Dogras or Dogra people, are an Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan * Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these languages See also *Aryan invasion theor ...

Dogra
dish is ''kasrod ka achaar'' (fiddlehead fern pickle). In Poonch, it is known as 'Kandor'(कंडोर) in local language. In
Kishtwar Kishtwar is a municipality in the Kishtwar District #REDIRECT Kishtwar district Kishtwar District is a District (India), district of the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (union territory), Jammu and Kashmir of India. As of 20 ...
, it is known as (टेड‍‌) in the local language
Kishtwari Kishtwari or Kashtwari is a highly distinctive and conservative dialect of the Kashmiri language Kashmiri () or Koshur (, /kəːʃur/) is a language from the Dardic subgroup of Indo-Aryan languages, spoken by around 7 million Kashmiris, pr ...
. It is also cooked as a dry vegetable side dish to be eaten with
roti Roti (also known as chapati Chapati (alternatively spelled chapatti, chappati, chapathi, or chappathi; pronounced as IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossle ...

roti
s or
paratha Paratha () is a flatbread native to the Indian subcontinent, prevalent throughout the modern-day nations of India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependenci ...

paratha
s.In Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir,it is called "DheeD" in Khah language. It is also found in the hills of
Kodagu Kodagu (also known by its former name Coorg) is an administrative district A district is a type of administrative division that, in some countries, is managed by the local government. Across the world, areas known as "districts" vary great ...

Kodagu
(Coorg). Known as therme thoppu in local language, they are made into a palya and can be had with rice or otti (roti made from cooked rice and rice powder).


Nepali cuisine

In
Nepal Nepal (; ne, नेपाल ), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal ( ne, सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल ), is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is ma ...

Nepal
, it is a
seasonal food Seasonal food refers to the times of year when the harvest or the flavour of a given type food is at its peak. This is usually the time when the item is harvested, with some exceptions; an example being sweet potatoes The sweet potato or swe ...
called (नियुरो) and is served as a vegetable side dish, often cooked in local clarified butter. It is also pickled.


North American cooking

Ostrich ferns (''Matteuccia struthiopteris''), known locally as "fiddleheads", grow wild in wet areas of northeastern North America in spring. The
Maliseet The Wəlastəkwewiyik, or Maliseet (, also spelled Malecite), are an Algonquian Algonquin or Algonquian—and the variation Algonki(a)n—may refer to: Indigenous peoples *Algonquian languages, a large subfamily of Native American language ...
, Mi'kmaq, and
Penobscot The Penobscot (''Panawahpskek'') are an Indigenous people in North America from the Northeastern Woodlands region. They are organized as a federally recognized tribe This is a list of federally recognized tribes in the contiguous United Stat ...

Penobscot
peoples of
Eastern Canada Eastern Canada (also the Eastern provinces or the East) is generally considered to be the region of Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of s ...

Eastern Canada
and
Maine Maine () is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States, bordered by New Hampshire to the west; the Gulf of Maine to the southeast; and the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Qu ...

Maine
have traditionally harvested fiddleheads, and the vegetable was introduced first to the
Acadian The Acadians (french: Acadiens, ''Acadiennes'' ) are the descendants of the French colonial empire, French who Old Acadian Villages of Nova Scotia, settled in Acadia during the 17th and 18th centuries. Some are also descended from the Algonqui ...
settlers in the early 18th century, and later to
United Empire Loyalist United Empire Loyalists (or simply Loyalists) is an honorific title which was first given by the 1st Lord Dorchester, the Governor A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the Executive (government), executiv ...
colonists as they began settling in
New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , capital = Fredericton Fredericton (; ) is the capital city of the Canadian provinc ...

New Brunswick
in the 1780s. Fiddleheads remain a traditional dish in these regions, with most commercial harvesting occurring in New Brunswick,
Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , ...

Quebec
and Maine, and the vegetable is considered particularly emblematic of New Brunswick. North America's largest grower, packer and distributor of wild fiddleheads established
Ontario ("Loyal she began, loyal she remains") , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. , coordinates = , cap ...

Ontario
's first commercial fiddlehead farm in
Port Colborne Port Colborne (2016 2016 was designated as: * International Year of Pulses 2016 was declared as the International Year of Pulses by the sixty eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly on December 20, 2013. The Food and Agricul ...
in 2006. Fiddlehead-producing areas are also located in
Nova Scotia ) , image_map = Nova Scotia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English (''de facto'') , RegionalLang = French, Scots Gaelic , capital ...

Nova Scotia
,
Vermont Vermont () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Vermont
and
New Hampshire New Hampshire ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Gulf of Maine to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the nor ...

New Hampshire
. The Canadian village of
Tide Head, New Brunswick Tide Head (2016 pop. 938) is a Canada, Canadian village in Restigouche County, New Brunswick, Restigouche County, New Brunswick. Geography Located on the south bank of the Restigouche River 10 km west of Campbellton, New Brunswick, Campbellto ...
, bills itself as the "Fiddlehead Capital of the World." Fiddleheads are sold fresh and frozen. Fresh fiddleheads are available in the market for only a few weeks in springtime, and are fairly expensive. Pickled and frozen fiddleheads, however, can be found in some shops year-round. The vegetable is typically steamed, boiled and/or sautéed before being eaten hot, with
hollandaise sauce Hollandaise sauce ( or ; ), formerly also called Dutch sauce, is an emulsion An emulsion is a mixture In chemistry, a mixture is a material made up of two or more different chemical substances which are not chemically combined. A mixture i ...

hollandaise sauce
, butter, lemon, vinegar and/or garlic, or chilled in salad or with
mayonnaise Mayonnaise, informally mayo, is a thick, creamy sauce In , a sauce is a , , or semi- food, served on or used in preparing other s. Most sauces are not normally consumed by themselves; they add flavor, moisture, and visual appeal to a dish ...
. To cook fiddleheads, it is advised to remove the brown papery husk before washing in several changes of cold water, then boil or steam them. Boiling reduces the bitterness and the content of
tannin Tannins (or tannoids) are a class of astringent 200px, A crystal of the astringent alum An astringent (sometimes called adstringent) is a chemical that shrinks or constricts body tissue In biology Biology is the natural scie ...
s and toxins. The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the national public health agency of the United States. It is a United States federal agency, under the Department of Health and Human Services The United States Department of Heal ...
associated a number of food-borne illness cases with fiddleheads in the early 1990s. Although they did not identify a toxin in the fiddleheads, the findings of that case suggest that fiddleheads should be cooked thoroughly before eating. The cooking time recommended by health authorities is 15 minutes if boiled and 10 to 12 minutes if steamed. The cooking method recommended by gourmets is to spread a thin layer in a steam basket and steam lightly, just until tender crisp.


Māori cuisine

Māori people have historically eaten young fern shoots called pikopiko, which can refer to several species of New Zealand ferns.


Health effects

Fiddleheads contain various
vitamin A vitamin is an organic molecule , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen chemical bond, bonds. Due to carbon's ability to Catenation, ...
s and minerals, as well as
omega-3 Omega−3 fatty acids, also called Omega-3 oils, ω−3 fatty acids or ''n''−3 fatty acids, are polyunsaturated fatty acid Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are fatty acids that contain more than one double bond in their backbone. This ...
and
omega-6 Omega-6 fatty acids (also referred to as ω-6 fatty acids or ''n''-6 fatty acids) are a family of polyunsaturated fatty acidsPolyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are fatty acids that contain more than one double bond in their backbone. This ...
fatty acids. They are a source of antioxidants and
dietary fiber Dietary fiber (British spelling fibre) or roughage is the portion of plant-derived food that cannot be completely broken down by human digestive enzyme Digestive may refer to: Biology *Digestion Digestion is the breakdown of large insolub ...
. They are low in sodium, but rich in potassium, which may make them suitable for people who need a low-sodium diet. Fiddleheads may harbour microbes, and should be washed and cooked before eating. Many ferns also contain the
enzyme Enzymes () are proteins that act as biological catalysts (biocatalysts). Catalysts accelerate chemical reactions. The molecules upon which enzymes may act are called substrate (chemistry), substrates, and the enzyme converts the substrates in ...

enzyme
thiaminase Thiaminase is an enzyme Enzymes () are protein Proteins are large s and s that comprise one or more long chains of . Proteins perform a vast array of functions within organisms, including , , , providing and , and from one locatio ...
, which breaks down thiamine. This can lead to beriberi, if consumed in extreme excess. Further, there is some evidence that certain varieties of fiddleheads, e.g. bracken (''Pteridium genus''), are carcinogenic. It is recommended to fully cook fiddleheads to destroy the shikimic acid. Ostrich fern (''Matteuccia struthiopteris'') is not thought to cause cancer, although there is evidence it contains a toxin unidentified as yet.


See also

*Boyi and Shuqi: two Chinese princes who were said to have famously survived exile in the wilderness for a long while on a diet of fiddleheads


Notes


References

* Barrett, L. E. and Diket, Lin. ''FiddleMainia''. WaveCloud Corporation: 2014. . * Lyon, Amy, and Lynne Andreen. ''In a Vermont Kitchen''. HP Books: 1999. . pp 68–69. * Strickland, Ron. ''Vermonters: Oral Histories from Down Country to the Northeast Kingdom''. New England Press: 1986. .


External links


Facts on Fiddleheads
{{Non-timber forest products Canadian cuisine Japanese cuisine Leaf vegetables New England cuisine Perennial vegetables Ferns Spring (season) Vermont cuisine