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Thread: Fiddleheads

  1. #1
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default Fiddleheads

    For the folks in Willow--are they out yet?

  2. #2
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    Default enlighten me

    how do you prepare fiddleheads???

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I'm heading up towards the Matanuska Glacier this weekend, so I'll let you know what I see in that direction.

    As for preparation, I would love to learn some recipes as well. As for me, though, I just pluck them and pop 'em in my mouth.

  4. #4

    Default Tempura

    Tempura the fiddleheads, they are awesome that way.
    Marc Theiler

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    Member Alaska Grandma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    I'm heading up towards the Matanuska Glacier this weekend, so I'll let you know what I see in that direction.

    As for preparation, I would love to learn some recipes as well. As for me, though, I just pluck them and pop 'em in my mouth.
    I have always heard and read that you were supposed to cook the fiddleheads to remove the thiaminase enzyme. Possibly, old rumors? So didn't know you could eat them raw. Still, I probably wouldn't gobble up too many at one time. Traditionally, the fiddlehead recipes included cooking. Not that you have to cook the bejeebers out of them. Here is a link for more info on Fiddleheads...
    http://www.foragersharvest.com/index...&id=8&Itemid=2
    If God had intended us to follow recipes,
    He wouldn't have given us grandmothers. ~Linda Henley

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    Default Ostrich fern

    "Ostrich fern shoots are crisp and sweet when raw and make a pleasant addition to salads or can be just nibbled on a hike through the woods."
    -clipped from the website that Grandma linked us to.

    Grandma that is where I got the fern info the other day too! I like that site!

    Anyway the author says he eats them raw, so it should be ok. I have a feeling it is just this one kind of fern that is "safe" though.

  7. #7
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Good point on not eating too many. I've never filled up on them - just a few here and there. Blueberries on the tundra, on the other hand...

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    New member Fubar's Avatar
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    I haven't heard that word in almost 11 years. Fiddleheads grow in Maine too. I haven't lived there in a long time. Haven't had a good feed on them in all that time. I guess living in the south has it's temperature advantages but some things just don't grow here. Maybe they do but I don't think so.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default blueberries on the other hand...

    Ah yes, blueberries on the tundra! Brian, I know what you mean. You can always tell the family member who is eating more than they pick. Not just by the level of berries in their basket, but by the stain on their lips <grin>.

    Sorry to take this off track. Fiddleheads...not as much here like in south central. Actually a good point on anyone out there first trying wild edibles is to never eat too much, whether it's mushrooms or ferns.

    And if you know those are really blueberries, well...have at 'em.

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    Question terrain

    what type terrain do they grow in?? Would be a fun afternoon looking for them with the family.

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    All 'fiddleheads' aren't created equal. The term fiddlehead is about as specific as the term mushroom. What is a fiddlehead? It basically describes the growth pattern (circinate vernation) of a fern frond. Many species of ferns grow this way. Circinate vernation is the unequal cell elongation that occurs in growing fronds. The backside of the fern frond cells grows faster & longer than the inside of the frond. From that comes the unrolling frond growth that looks much like a fiddle's head.

    Some species of fern fiddleheads are better to eat than others. And some aren't very good at all. As mentioned above, the ostrich fern is one that many prefer. Check around stream bottoms.

    It's pretty difficult to identify ferns that haven't fully 'leafed' out. You almost have to know what you are looking for. Identify them when mature this season, then go in and pick next spring. When foraging, it is ALWAYS best to know exactly what you are consuming, whether you are eating mushrooms, berries, or plants.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    I always treat them like asparagus--steam or saute'

    They make great pickles (mild brine recipes)

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Hiking up past Chickaloon yesterday. No fiddleheads yet.

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    Fiddle head ferns are a bit astringent, so I prefer to saute in butter with a little garlic. I limit them to a side dish with chicken, preferably chicken with a sauce. The astrigent quality works well there.

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    Member Alaska Grandma's Avatar
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    Thanks Brian for the update, I was wondering if the fiddleheads were out yet. I've been looking for anything green sprouting up around my neck of the woods. Nothing much yet, other than a little green grass right next to the river bank. I can see the red tops of the fireweed poking up through the dirt, so it won't be long before they are pickin size. Looking forward to some greens!

    Grandma Lori
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    He wouldn't have given us grandmothers. ~Linda Henley

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    I stopped along the Parks on my way home from Fairbanks yesterday (Sat 5/16). The fiddleheads are "in the zone" in the Willow area. In the sunnier spots the fronds are beginning to open but in the shadier places some are just emerging.

    I picked about a gallon's worth. Steamed some for lunch today and plan on pickling the rest.

  17. #17

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    do you pick the brown paper off them or eat the whole thing? I have like a billion of them in my back yard!

  18. #18
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    John,
    I was taught to l i g h t l y scrub them with a green scrubbie pad to remove the brown papery stuff. A well used, scotchbrite (very well rinsed) works great.

  19. #19
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    BLICK gack!!!!!!!


    tried to eat um once...

    you can have all mine. almost like eating Brussel sprouts... and those i have dumped girlfrineds over...YUCK!
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  20. #20

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    Our are going strong we put up a good 20 gallons every year.
    Chuck

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