or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Are fiddleheads safe?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Are fiddleheads safe?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Are fiddleheads safe? I brought some at the farmers market here in Ottawa but they included a paper that said fiddleheads contain a toxin and may cause food posioning.

Should I eat these?
post #2 of 10
There have been a few reported cases of people getting sick after eating ligtly sauteed fiddleheads, both from markets and restaurants. But all the studies have so far been unable to show any kind of plant or bacterial toxicity. It is recommended that you cook your fiddleheads for 10 minutes for safety. This seems to fix the potential problem.
post #3 of 10
It depends on the particular fern that the fiddleheads are harvested from.
The only ferns that have sprouting brachts that are safe to eat come from the ostrich fern.
Many ferns have fiddlehead-shaped sprouts when they first start to grow in the spring.
If the fiddleheads are harvested from wild ferns other than the ostrich fern, they can be poisonous-some mildly, some severely.

It's also possible that fiddleheads that are grown for commercial use could contain e-coli due to the humus, moisture and compost (often containing manure) rich soil that they are grown in. Best to cook them well to kill any nasty bacteria harboring in those cute little curly-cues.

There's a terrific book on wild foods written by a survival teacher named David Brown. He clearly describes how to identify safe wild foods and those that are not safe.

Note-I've planted a bunch of ostrich ferns in the woodsy part of my back yard with the hope that in a few years, I can harvest some fiddleheads for my spring dinners. They seem to be growing slowly so I guess I'll just have to be patient.

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply
post #4 of 10
We moved to the Kitsap Pensinsula in Washington State not long after Euell Gibbons published Stalking the Wild Asparagus, one of the first eating-off-the-land books. A brief biography is here

Euell Gibbons - Biography by John Kallas of Wild Food Adventures

We also got his Stalking the Blue-Eyed Scallop. Since we lived on the waterfront on Puget Sound, it came in pretty handy.

Mike :smoking:
travelling gourmand
Reply
travelling gourmand
Reply
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
I soaked them, cut the end off both ends, cleaned the little hairs off, rinsed them, and boiled them for 20 minutes.

I used them in my pasta, along with olive oil flavored with ramps, both the white part and leaves. The pasta was a side for scallops.
post #6 of 10
I was always told to boil them twice and throw out the water, brownish colored,I just bought some yesterday in Montreal, cant wait to eat them with pasta :smiles:
post #7 of 10
Fiddlehead fern - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wikipedia definition above.

Had never heard of them before - definition says they're eaten in Aistralia, would never have thought of eating them at all! Learn something new every day. Doesn't mean I'm going to play russian roulette :eek::look:

Had thought it must be a type of fish!
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
Reply
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
Reply
post #8 of 10
I've seen them in a local upscale market (V. Richards for you locals) but never bought them. I've also seen them in cans elsewhere. I tried them and wasn't fond enough to seek them out every spring.
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
post #9 of 10
i'll never forget my first - and last taste of canned fiddleheads. storeroom at J&W. ummmm, kind of tasted the way swamp smells. could never bring myself to try them again. still recall the flavor almost(eek!) 30 years later.
kathee
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
You should try the fresh ones, they are actually very good.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Are fiddleheads safe?