What Is A Fiddlehead?

This green vegetable is the early, tender growth of the Matteuccia Struthiopteris or more commonly referred to as the ostrich fern. Fiddleheads have received acknowledgment and a lot of respect in the last several years for their high nutritional content and their versatility (meaning they are easily substituted in most vegetable recipes).

Fiddleheads are found along fresh waterways in the Maritime Provinces of Canada and the North Eastern United States. Fiddleheads are known to grow up to 6 inches overnight and must be picked at the perfect height in order to catch them before they unfurl. The stem should be 2 cm long and 1 ½ cm in diameter when harvested.

A unique characteristic of fiddleheads is they have very high iron content. Once the crop is harvested the exposed tip oxidizes. This turns the tip a brownish green color, this bit simply gets trimmed off during preparation for cooking and you have a rich, deep green and perfectly edible fiddleheads. Another unique characteristic of fiddleheads is that they contain twice  the antioxidant activity of blueberries.

Dating back to early civilization the Aboriginals have been cashing in on the nutritional benefits of fiddleheads and have used the crop as an indicator of the changing seasons and the beginning of the early spring season.

According to Dr. DeLong, no natural toxin in Ostrich Fern Fiddleheads has been identified to date. Occurences of gastrointestinal upset were likely due to inadequate food preparation. Dr. DeLong, (and Health Canada), advise the public not to eat fiddleheads raw and to adequately cook them in order to avoid any potential issues with residual bacteria or fungi that can be a naturally resident.

Availability:

Fresh fiddleheads are harvested for a short period ranging from mid-April through mid-June (weather permitting) and are available in the produce department of major supermarket locations. Frozen fiddleheads are also available 12 months of the year in the frozen food section of select grocers. Please visit “Where to Purchase?”  located under the “About” tab on our website.

 

Shelf Life:

Fiddleheads can last up to 3 weeks with proper care and storage.For best results keep fresh fiddleheads refrigerated at 36 degrees Fahrenheit, better yet, store them in a bowl of water in the fridge. Fiddleheads keep very well in water, as water is part of their natural habitat.

 

Wild Harvest:

The dilemma NorCliff Farms Inc. has been faced with is “how in the world, can we possibly certify thousands of acres of land as organic?”  The difficulty is it is nearly impossible; due to the manpower and other resources necessary, to have these acres surveyed.

But, we assure you, there is nothing more organic than fiddleheads from NorCliff Farms Inc.

Ultimately “organifying” your life simply means eating more wild-harvested products like fiddleheads, NorCliff Farms Inc. wild-harvested products.

Our harvesting methods at NorCliff Farms Inc. allows for sustainability. We carefully pick off the fiddleheads from the plant allowing for regrowth of the plants in future seasons. We make it our job to ensure that the plants are left unharmed and are able to grow in their natural environment for years to come.

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