Green food and fiddleheads


Comming back from the mountains, the nature was going wild. In just a few days the trees were green and everything ready to grow. The last couple of years I have wanted to taste the ostrich fern, an edible fern growing in abundance not far from were I live. But I have been too late, and too uncertain. Because it is the unfolding leaves, the young fiddleheads, that are eaten. For an amateur like me, the only way to be sure about the species is to look for the dark brown, spore-bearing fronds, the brown “feathers” from the previous year that stick to some of the green ferns.



I prepared the fiddleheads after rinsing them to get rid of the thin scales, some lightly cooked before adding butter, salt and a few drops of vinegar, some sautered. Was it good? Was it as delicious as expected: YES! Guess who is already ready to go harvesting next spring.




This is also a fiddlehead, a young fern uncurling. But it is not an ostrich fern. It is a much rarer type of fern, at least in Norway. It is a Polystichum braunii, the english name seems to be Braun’s holly fern (junkerbregne). Growing among the ostrich ferns, and so are other species. This one is hairy and looks different, others might resemble more. So be sure: never eat anything from nature you are not completly sure about. More fern photos on this link.




65 thoughts on “Green food and fiddleheads

  1. I’ve heard that with fiddleheads there are only certain ones that are the right ones to eat. I guess it’s like mushrooms. You have to know what you’re doing and be able to identify the right kind positively. I don’t know how bad it is to eat the wrong kind of fiddleheads but I know that the wrong kind of mushroom can make you very sick or kill you. But the right ones are delicious.


    1. As I wrote last season in my blog, even a Blacken which was classified as poisonous in the west,
      still, in Japan they are commonly eaten. As far as I know there is no herbal medicine out of fern family.
      In other words, they don’t have potent chemical.
      All of them can be eaten, only some are a bit bitter and not nice to eat. No danger like mushroom in the fern family.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful photos.
    I guess there are many plants growing in the wild which are edible and we don’t know about them. I certainly never knew ferns were edible. If they grow quickly and in abundance, then maybe we should be considering more wild plants as food.
    With so many farmers unable to make a living from the land and coming to the cities looking for work, eventually, who’s going to grow our food.


    1. Wild, edible plants are very good food, if harvested in clean places. But we rely on farming more and more, so hopefully the farmers will continue this very imprtant job. Farmers needs all our support, and better pay for their produce, I agree, Victoria.


    1. I don’t see the brown feathers but otherwise yours looks the right sort, and if you got them from your mothers there should be no mistake. Lucky you to have them in your garden.


      1. Thank you but unsure if they are true fiddle heads . In the fall they do have the brown spikes?


  3. I think both types are also in Japan, but as I wrote last year, we eat mostly Blacken
    because of its taste and the texture when we bite.
    Hairy one is just awkward to get rid of its hair though, it still edible but not nice.
    Last year, American Haiku Guy mentioned that they too eat Fiddle head.
    Enjoy a fresh food from the nature (not from a super-market) 😉


    1. I was really surprised how delicios the fiddleheads are. I will say: fantastic. I am not going to eat the hairy ones though. 😉 They might even be a protected species.


      1. The reason why the scientists doubt toxicity of fern
        was that no animal even insects doesn’t eat them.
        Though, think about the amount they could eat, and
        a grown-up eat 10 stems in a year, the effects may
        not larger than the toxic heavy-metal dust we are
        taking from nose. If anyone eat Spinach like a horse
        I’m sure the person will get ill. 🙂


  4. Nothing quite like fresh greens after a long hard winter. They look good. We have a lot of ferns growing here year round. I wonder if any are considered edible. I’ll have to look into it.


  5. Beautiful and edible! Not something I have tried but I must as I love foraging for wild food – nice follow up to my recent visit to apothecaries garden in Wales!


  6. Love fiddleheads! When I went through a outdoor survival school in Washington State, between hundreds of fiddleheads, a snake, fish, rabbit, beef jerky, and our rations, I gained 3 pounds after several days in the field. Now, up in Maine, I get to harvest them again.


  7. How interesting. I never knew that one can eat fiddleheads. Gorgeous. And it’s always nice when spring is awakening. Beautiful photos with a delicate green.


  8. I didn’t know that we can to eat these fiddleheads. I go to see for looking many thing in french on this fiddleheads. thank a lot. I’ll tell you what I think after eating 😉


  9. I’ve eaten fiddleheads and found them to be delicious, but I wouldn’t know what they looked like growing in a garden (before sautéed). They are in season here now as I’ve seen them in the farmer’s market. Beautiful photos as usual!


  10. Gorgeous photos. And these truly are amazing plants. They have always been rare in the U.S. but now you are starting to see them in specialty markets, so I wonder if they are being cultivated – rather than wild harvest….


  11. I have eaten fiddleheads …. and I quite enjoyed it … I love your photos … and I love taking photos of them myself .. because of the light that comes through the leafs. Beautiful work here.


  12. Never ever heard of fiddleheads before until now ;-). I would like to try it, but I don’t know if they even sell it in the Netherlands 😉


  13. Vilka underbara bilder!
    Har aldrig hört att man kan spise bregner.
    Tyvärr lite för sent att plocka, för de har öppnat sig redan. Jag skall kolla i skogen imorgon 😉 Kanske……?????


  14. Hi Bente.
    It’s just the famous Nordic cuisine in a nutshell :-).
    In Denmark we eat wild garlic on the Michelin restaurants.
    All the best,


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