Ostrich ferns, (Matteuccia struthiopteris), are more commonly known as fiddleheads. (A comprehensive digital magazine about the ostrich fern, including recipes, can be purchased at this link for only $5 – https://www.ediblewildfood.com/edible-wild-plants-pdfs.aspx#FiddleheadAnchor.)
Fiddleheads can be identified by a few unique characteristics that are only exhibited by ostrich ferns. The skin is smooth with a deep green colour and there is a U-shaped groove in the stem that looks similar to the groove in celery. The coil and stem are smooth and never furry or fuzzy. Fiddleheads emerge, covered in a papery, brown sheath, from a black clump called a crown. Spores of the ostrich fern are born on a separate, dark brown frond.
In spring (late April through early June depending on location), the dark green, tender curled heads of the fern begin to emerge from their crowns. Fiddleheads should be pinched or snapped off close to the ground (with a stem of about 3 cm – 4 cm long). The crowns should never be picked completely – be sure to leave 2 or 3 fronds on each crow to ensure its survival.
For more info see the links below.
– Fiddleheads (identification, distinguishing features, flowers, leaves, height, habitat & edible parts): https://www.ediblewildfood.com/fiddlehead.aspx
– Fiddlehead Soup Recipe: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/fiddlehead-soup.aspx
– How to Harvest Fiddleheads: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/blog/2019/02/how-to-harvest-fiddleheads/
– How to Prepare & Preserve Fiddleheads: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/blog/2019/02/how-to-prepare-and-preserve-fiddleheads/
– Fiddlehead Safety: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/blog/2019/02/fiddlehead-safety/
– Stuffed Fiddlehead Mushrooms Recipe: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/stuffed-fiddlehead-mushrooms.aspx
#fiddleheads #ostrichfern #Matteucciastruthiopteris