1. Trim the base of each fiddlehead with a paring knife, removing any dark or soft bits of the stalk.
2. In a large bowl, submerge the fiddleheads in cool water.
3. Agitate/rub each one to release any debris trapped in the coils. Lift the fiddleheads from the water and pour off the dirty water. Repeat the process until the water runs mostly clear and the fiddleheads are clean (usually 2-3 times).
4. Prepare a bowl of ice water, and bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the fiddleheads in the boiling water for 15-45 seconds, until their color turns bright green.
5. Immediately transfer the fiddleheads to the ice water, halting the cooking and preserving their texture.
6. Drain and dry the fiddleheads. Store in the refrigerator in wax paper or an open plastic container.
Just like many spring stalks (or more accurately, stipes), fiddleheads taste similar to asparagus: vegetal, green, and subtly sweet. The key difference is fiddleheads also have a pleasant earthiness (some say muskiness) that adds layers of minerality, and occasionally, bitterness. The method of prearation here helps minimize bitterness by rinsing and blanching before you cook them according to a recipe’s instructions.
Yes. Because of how they grow, fiddleheads commonly have dirt and debris trapped within their tight coils. We recommend submerging your trimmed fiddleheads in cool water, and then agitating and rubbing them to release any sediment.
Yes. While some people are able to eat fiddleheads raw, the plant has the potential to be mildly toxic if eaten without cooking. Avoid the potential of stomach issues by following these steps for preparation, and thoroughly cook them according to your recipe’s instructions.
We recommend the blanch and shock method in combination with your recipe’s cooking instructions. Once you’ve completed the steps below, they can be sauteed in butter, cooked in a pasta sauce, steamed in a salad, or baked in a frittata. Get creative!
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