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.