A fiddlehead is a tightly curled-up frond of a young fern. It is used as a vegetable. It is also called fiddlehead green. Unharvested fiddleheads that are left on the plant unroll into a new frond. They are usually harvested in spring. There are several types of fiddlehead ferns. Popular ones are Bracken, Cinnamon fern, Royal fern, Lady fern, Midin, Flowering fern or Zenmai, Western sword fern, Vegetable fern, and Ostrich fiddlehead fern. The Ostrich fiddlehead fern is universally used and considered the safest to eat.
A foraging expert must harvest fiddleheads as some are highly and immediately poisonous. They must be cooked before eating as certain varieties are shown to be carcinogenic and may lead to cancer. They have a grassy spring-like flavour with a hint of nuttiness. They taste like a cross between young spinach and asparagus. Fiddlehead greens must be used immediately after harvesting as they lose their taste, and texture if they are not stored properly.
Fiddleheads are power-packed 17 minerals that include calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, niacin and zinc. They also contain carbohydrates, fibre, protein, ash, fat and 87% water. They are a rich source of Vitamin A and C, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which are essential for good health.