One of the joys of living in Maine is the multitude of things one can forage and eat. Spring is a time of a great unfolding in this state, as the abundant nature around us wakes from the slumber of winter. One prize possession the is revealed is fiddle heads. These unique edible spirals of green wonder are the baby ostrich fern.
While all ferns have fiddleheads, it is the Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) that is the unique species of edible fern.
SP loves to hunt down this mysterious low lying plants and bring home a bundle to be eaten. He loves to pan fry them in butter or to coat them in a batter and fry. This year he let me pickle them for Christmas treats for the family.
I used the recipe from http://www.wellpreserved.ca found Here. One of the MOST IMPORTANT things about using fiddleheads is to exercise proper cleaning of them before cooking. All that brown whispy stuff needs to be removed completely. It's very easy but you need to do a thorough job.
- 2 pounds fiddleheads, cleaned thoroughly
- 1 large white onion, cut in half then sliced into ½ circles
- 3½ cups white vinegar
- 3½ cups water
- 2 tsp salt
- 8 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 tsp chili flakes
- 4 tsp black peppercorns
1. In a hot water canner, sterilize your jars.
2. Put your cleaned fiddleheads into a strainer or the strainer of your pasta pot and prepare them to be blanched.
3. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch your fiddleheads in this for 3 minutes.
4. Remove the strainer of fiddle heads and quickly cool them under running cold water. Preserve your blanching water. It is a healthy and nutritious way to water your house plants. I got 2 pitchers worth and my plants thanked me. Really, they did.
5. Make the bring by combining the rest onion, vinegar, water, salt, garlic, and honey in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil.
6. While the brine is coming to a boil, prepare your hot jars by adding a clove of garlic and 1/2 teaspoon each of chili flakes and peppercorns.
7. Pack the blanched fiddle heads into your jars.
8. Cover the fiddle heads with the brine. Leave 1/2 inch head space.
9. Process in a hot water canner for 10 minutes.
10. Wait as long as you can before opening the jars to try them. SP only made it 24 hours. I challenge you to wait a week.
p.s. somehow I turned on text background color and I can't turn it off. Sorry.