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Fiddleheads & Maine

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Hello all Mainers ( + interested others) ,

I'm a writer for Edible Coastal Maine magazine, and I've been assigned a fiddlehead story for our spring issue. I hope this isn't an inappropriate post - my apologies in advance if it is.

I've already read some previous threads on fiddleheads in the egullet archives, so I know that people either love them or hate them. They are a Maine tradition though, so I'd like to do them justice.

Here are my questions for you potential readers:

What would you like to know about fiddleheads, especially fiddleheads in Maine? What would make an article interesting to you, keep you reading past the intro?

Of course, a list of great places to go picking would be good, but I don't think my sources will share those!

I'd appreciate any suggestions from you knowledgable Mainers.


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I'd like to know when they can be harvested, what variety is edible, are there different varieties with different tastes and can they be grown in a more southern climate (zone 6/CT).

I love fiddle heads and fix them plain and fancy. I like them with nuts in the preparation.

I'd love to know more and wish I didn't have to rely on the Stop and Shop to obtain them. It seems like there is less than a 20 day window in which they might be available in the store...... I would go out and hunt them if they grew here and if I knew what I was looking for.

Banished from Chowhound; I like it just fine on eGullet!

If you`re not big enough to lose, you`re not big enough to win! Try this jalapeno, son. It ain't hot...

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Thank you both for your responses. I appreciate the input!

I used to live in Western Massachusetts, and we got fiddleheads, so I would think you would be able to find some in the woods around New Haven. From what I've read, the ostrich fern is the one people eat.

I have read a bit about the toxicity issue, and I will be sure to address it. I don't want to play a part in anyone getting food poisoning!

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I'd like to know about classic recipes, techniques to keep them from becoming gray (cough -- blanch then ice bath -- cough), seasons, whether there are ties to Native American cooking, and who the people are that harvest the buggers.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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The article would need to address the toxicity issue, real and imagined.

Back when I was a food service manager in hospitals, I recall an article about fiddleheads and blood thinners like warfarin and coumadin...small amount of fiddle heads were ok, the problem arose when greens starved Maineace woul eat a whole plate...


All that is needed for evil to survive is for good people to do nothing

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  • 3 weeks later...

It would be good to show a photo of what a fiddlehead looks like when it's ready for picking.

Also, you could mention that the fiddlehead fern, when grown, is a good remedy for poison ivy. Gather a mess of ferns and in a kettle with water, make a strong tea. After it cools, remove the ferns, then put tea in a jar. Dab tea on poison ivy affected areas with a cloth. Poison ivy should be gone in three or four days, or less, depending on how bad it is.

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I'd love to know what other ferns are tasty, besides fiddleheads.

Hi Roger,

What I found in my research was that all kinds of people eat all kinds of ferns all over the world. But many of them (bracken, for example) are considered unsafe. Ostrich & cinnamon seem to be the only safe & edible ferns in New England.

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