Fiddlehead Picking: A Tasty Way To Spend A Day

Spring: A long standing springtime tradition in Maine is gathering fiddleheads for the dinner table. Fiddleheads are actually Ostrich Ferns, and are only good to eat right after they sprout from the ground, and before the fern unferls. Named because of their likeness to the headstock of a fiddle these delicious treats taste similar to asparagas and are generally boiled or steamed and served with vinegar or butter. It is important to note that there are many varieties of ferns in Maine, so make sure to properly identify what you are picking. Fiddleheads grow along brooks and rivers after spring flood waters recede in April and May so bring some high waterproof rubber boots. Most folks gather fiddleheads in buckets and then clean them thouroughly removing all of the brown “husk material” before being prepared. Time is of the essence when picking these northwoods treats, because after these ferns mature they are no longer fit for consumption. So grab a bucket, boots, and a map and go seek out these tasty spring greens.