Maine is known for many foodie delicacies from lobsters to blueberries, but one lesser known specialty the state produces well, are spring fiddleheads.
Fiddleheads are actually budding ferns. Normally, these are foraged for (seeking them out in the woods) in early to mid Spring. The flavor is very mild, and the texture is similar to that of asparagus.
There are different varieties of fiddleheads, so it is important to know what kind you are searching for to add as a side dish:
(Online image - not original)
You do not want to eat any that are fuzzy, dark, or look like the above images. Not all fiddleheads are food.
*The smooth headed, bright green curls are what you want, known as Ostrich Fiddleheads. They can be kind of hidden, in shady spots, so look closely. However, they generally clump together so if you spot one there are likely many more surrounding.*
For more information check out the University of Maine Cooperative Extension's webpage in fiddlehead facts:
Rinse well to remove dead leaves and dirt.
Remove any extra long stalks (cut right about up to the circular curl).
Blanche (boil) in salt water for 10 minutes.
Drain water (may have a brown tint to it, don't be alarmed).
Sautee in a pan for approx. 10 min. with your choice of seasoning.
Salt & Pepper
Simplicity is key - they don't need a lot to bring out the full flavor.
If you don't have a place to forage, many local markets, farm stands, or organic markets will carry these seasonally. They are not often found at our regular grocery store but you may get lucky if you keep your eyes peeled.
We hope you get the opportunity to give these a shot! Enjoy the many tastes of Maine!