Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fiddleheads...the best spring green!

One of the best things about springtime is the bounty you can find if you just know where to look. 
If you ever get in the car and drive the back roads once in a while you'll seem them throughout the summer.  Big green batches of fluffy ferns under a canopy of maples. 
Usually found near some swamps areas lining the forest scape.

While its not the first spring green...I feel like it's the heartiest.
Crunchy like a green bean or a steamed asparagus.

Its wonderful to behold...but it drove my husband crazy last year. 
He tries to remember where all of these treasure troves are, so that the coming spring we can check them out for fiddleheads. 
You have to time it just right, because if you miss the start of these green lovelies....they will have already turned into a plant!

We used to live in a different house in Verona, one that backed onto the swampy end of Rock Lake. 
It was a wonderful place to raise a young Noah.  (Owen not yet born.)
My step son, my husband and I spent many a spring weekend
gathering up fiddleheads on the border to our neighbour's property.

We have some ferns lining our front beds and frog pond area. 
Over the course of a few days I decided to document their you would know what to look for.

First, be sure you are looking at the right fern!
Ostrich Fern - Matteuccia struthiopteris - is what you want!!!
Husband and I once tried to eat a related fern and the results were not very tasty...

Fiddleheads have such humble beginnings.
They look like a pile of brownish, papery poo.

But if you know where you are can spot the wee plants start to unfurl.

Like waking up from a long winter's sleep...

You can get a couple of curls per plant...if you are gentle.

You'll want to catch them before the get much taller than this.
I find they are more tender.

We will leave our front ferns...and try to start ferns in the back yard for picking...

Below is one of the savoury ways to serve your fiddleheads:

Fiddlehead Soup

1 cup milk
1 cup trimmed fiddleheads
2 cups chicken or veg stock
dash fresh ground or powdered nutmeg
S & P to taste
1 cup trimmed fiddleheads for topping

(My husband picked these fiddleheads while her was wild leeks picking...a tad early)

I made an excellent batch of this soup and took one helluva picture...

then I sent my camera through the wash in my jacket...

I will try to get a new camera ASAP...

(And just before gardening season begins!!!)

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