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How To Pick Fiddlehead Ferns

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How To Pick Fiddlehead FernsIt is not a tough task to pick fiddlehead ferns. But that doesn’t mean that you can pick fiddlehead ferns in the most careless manner. Spring announces the arrival of fiddlehead ferns along the banks of streams and rivers located on the eastern part of United States and Canada from where you can pick fiddlehead ferns. While picking fiddlehead ferns, care must be taken to pick only the tender ones as the mature ferns lack taste and flavor.


What Is Required To Pick Fiddlehead Ferns


Here is a list of things that must be kept handy while picking fiddlehead ferns:


1. A small plastic bucket

2. Plastic bags, both smaller and larger ones

3. A large bowl

4. A colander


A Step By Step Guide To Picking Fiddlehead Ferns


Follow the steps mentioned below to pick fiddlehead ferns;


Identify The Location


Since the fiddlehead ferns grow on the banks of streams and rivers check out at these places. If you don’t know the place, then check with one of your friends or neighbors to identify the location. The ideal time to pick fiddlehead ferns is during the months of April and May. You may also be able to find these ferns in damp areas where there is less sunlight.


Check For Any Dead Ferns


Check if there any dead ferns on the ground. Also check if there are erect fronds in the spore bearing stage. These fronds appear very similar to the plumes of the ostrich. If there are any dead ferns, avoid them.


Choose A Sunny Day For Picking The Ferns


It is preferable to pick the ferns on sunny days, early in the mornings as you will get them in their freshest form. Picking them early in morning will help to clean the ferns easier and get rid of the debris.


Choosing Fiddlehead Ferns


Choose fiddlehead ferns that are on the stalks at a height of 6 to 8 inches from the ground. At this point of time, if these ferns have become loosely coiled or have started the process of unfurling, avoid such ferns. You should also avoid ferns that have just grown from the ground as the cleaning process becomes almost infeasible.


Examining The Crosier


Now examine the crosier, which is the coiled head of the Ostrich Fern, to check if it is dark green and has a girth of 1 inch. The crosier should also feel like paper dry and possess a parchment like texture. Remember that you need to identify the fiddleheads from Ostrich Fern and these are characteristic traits of Ostrich Fiddlehead ferns.


Checking The Stem


The next step is to determine if the stem is smooth and posses a U-shaped furrow that run up within the stem completely. Only if the condition is satisfied you can pick the ferns.


Snapping Off The Stalk


Hold the fiddlehead with your hand and then snap off the stalk leaving 1 to 2 inches from the stalk.


Tossing Fiddleheads


The picked fiddlehead ferns need to be tossed into the smaller bucket. Choosing buckets simplifies the process. Once the bucket becomes full, empty the picked fiddlehead ferns into a clean plastic bag. It is always preferable to pick fiddlehead ferns cluster by cluster.


You can follow these instructions to pick fiddlehead ferns in a simple and easy way. 


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How To Pick Fiddlehead Ferns