The Fiddlehead is a type of fern that grows along the banks of rivers and streams. A succulent species for any dinner plate. This is a type of fern and locals around here go crazy gathering them to make a little profit. I have personally gone out and gathered them myself but noticed that my special top secret patch had been gone over, someone sniped my patch.
There is nothing like the taste of a fiddlehead and my personally best way to eat these ferns is sauté with butter and salt and pepper. Some people like to pickle them or just process them for later use. I have tried to freeze them before but they just are not the same as freshly cooked. You can also cook them with salt pork or bacon. I also like them cooked with Italian Seasons salad dressing mix. There is really a big hype about these ferns around here. They really are not hard to identify but someone would confuse them with a regular fern.
A regular fern does have the signature curled up leaves but will have a lot of fuzz all over the stock. The fiddlehead looks pretty much the same but with a dark green, shiny stock, with no fuzz. I cannot wait to have my supplier of the fiddleheads give us a call. How much do you want this year? We usually buy them these days because I really hate gathering them today with all the ticks in the forest and fields. We usually will get about five pounds or more all processed. What I mean by processed is the fact that the fern also has a skin that has to be removed. One method I have used in the past is to take an old screen from one of your windows and put the fiddlehead on the top. Take a fairly windy day and keep moving the screen up and down letting the wind take away the skin. Also to use a garden hose and wash them through the screen. Continue this process a few times and the fiddleheads will be nice and clean. These people are inline for their fiddleheads, I saw them down the street.
I cannot wait to get our fiddleheads, the call should be coming soon.
When we were kids we would take the Cattails and hit each other with them until it all fell apart. Another thing we would do is soak the Cattail in gasoline and use it as a torch at night. They would burn for quite a long time and put off some good light for us night dwellers. Another one I always enjoyed was Pussy Willows. The soft gray and fluffy bud on a branch. Not much to do with these but rub them on your cheeks and feel the softness. They also look very good in a vase on the fireplace mantle.
The funny things we played with when young children. The kids in the neighborhood would venture into the cow pastures and woods in our region and try to find anything to pass the day. We would knock old rotten trees down just to see them crash to the ground. Sometimes we had to run like heck because a beehive was inside. We would also go to the local brook and either fish for trout or just tip over rocks to find a crawdad or a newt. We would also build teepee’s in the woods with pine bowels. So many things we would find in the great outdoors. We learned about nature in our own way and loved every minute of it.
Interesting that today I hardly venture into the woods because ticks have infested our region. You cannot even go in the woods unless you check yourself after by stripping down and having someone inspect every inch of your body. Sometimes this is not a bad thing. A lot of single people have Lyme’s illness because no one could check them.
I cannot wait til spring so I can go to the flower shop and get me some cattails and pussy willows. This ole boy is not going in the woods this time. Enjoy the day, I will.