Marinated Fiddleheads

You’ll need:

5 lbs. fresh fiddleheads

1 lb. fresh wild leeks, ramps or shallots

Fresh peppers - hot or mild - to taste

Fresh herbs - basil, tarragon, thyme, rosemary and chives (cut fine)

5 cups apple cider or wine vinegar

5 cups extra virgin olive oil

3 tbs. sugar and salt to taste



1. Blanch fiddleheads in boiling water for 1 minute

2. Remove from heat, drain, rinse and cool them

3. Clean and cut up peppers, leeks and herbs

4. Pour vinegar over fiddleheads in a non-reactive container

5. Add cut up peppers, leeks, herbs, sugar and salt

6. Stir to wet all ingredients

7. Add the olive oil and stir again

8. Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving

Fiddlehead Dip

You’ll need:

1 garlic clove, finely minced

10 to 14 ounces fiddleheads, chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup grated cheddar or Swiss cheese

1 cup chopped fresh tomato

1/2 cup chopped fresh sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Maui)



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F)

2. Put the garlic clove in the bowl of a food processor and mince

3. Add the fiddleheads, pulse to mince

4. Add the mayonnaise and pulse just to mix

5. Scrape the mixture into a medium sized bowl and fold in the cheeses

6. Lightly oil 3 one cup crocks and divide the mixture evenly between the crocks

7. Bake in oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.

8. Sprinkle with chopped tomato and onion.

9. Serve warm with crackers or bread.

Pickled Fiddleheads

You’ll Need

½ pound fiddleheads

Kosher Salt

½ Cup apple cider vinegar

½ Teaspoon mustard seeds

½ Teaspoon dill seeds

¼ Teaspoon black peppercorn

2 Allspice berries

1 Garlic clove, smashed



1.  Place fiddlehead ferns in a large bowl of cold water and wash well. Rub away any brown chaff and trim cut ends.

2.  Add two tablespoons of salt to two quarts of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add fiddlehead ferns and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

3.  Combine vinegar, 1/2 cup water, and 1 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Place spices and garlic cloves into the bottom of a prepared pint jar. Pack fiddlehead ferns into the jar and add hot pickling liquid to cover.

4.  Wipe rim, apply lid and ring and process in a small boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove jar from canner and let cool on a folded kitchen towel. When jar is cool enough to handle, remove ring and check seal.

5.  Sealed jars can be stored in the pantry for up to one year. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly. Let these pickles age for at least a week before eating.

Sauteed Fiddleheads

You'll Need

3 cups fresh fiddleheads, ends trimmed

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice



1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook fiddleheads in the boiling water until barely tender, 7 to 10 minutes; drain.

2.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the prepared fiddlehead ferns, garlic, and the salt and pepper. Cook and stir until ferns are tinged lightly brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with lemon juice.


Freezing Fiddleheads

  1. Clean the fiddleheads to prepare

  2. Blanch a small amount of at a time for two minutes in 4-6 cups of water. As a reminder the blanch time starts when the water comes to a rolling boil after adding the produce.

  3. Cool in an ice bath immediately after blanching 

  4. Dry thoroughly and place into moisture and vapor proof containers such as resealable plastic bags. Do not over fill bags.

  5. Place in freezer.

  6. To use frozen fiddleheads thaw then in the refrigerator or in cold water and then prepare when thawed. 

  7.  Fiddleheads can be thawed in a microwave if for immediate consumption.

for later use

You'll Need

1 pound fiddlehead ferns (about 4 cups)


2 tablespoons’ worth of garlic cloves

4 to 10 small, fresh Thai chilies, depending on your tolerance for heat

2 tablespoons neutral oil (see note)

2 tablespoons cooking oil

2 tablespoons fish sauce (Tiparos or Squid brands are good and common)

4 tablespoons oyster sauce, preferably a Thai brand like Maekhrua (see note)

1 tablespoon superfine sugar

¼ teaspoon MSG (see note)

 Freshly ground white pepper to finish

½ cup pork stock.



1. Clean the fiddleheads by soaking them in cold water and shaking them dry in a colander. Trim the stem of each within an inch or two of the curled top.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it well.

3. Smash the garlic and chilies into a rough, lumpy paste in a mortar and pestle.

4. Blanch the ferns for a minute or two. Meanwhile, heat the oils in a wok or wok-style pan over medium heat. Add garlic and chilies and cook until fragrant but not brown.

5. Take the ferns out of the blanching water, shake them dry in a colander for a few seconds (a little water is not a problem) and toss into the wok. Crank the heat all the way up. Stir-fry for a minute, add the fish sauce, stir-fry again for a few seconds, then add the oyster sauce, sugar, MSG and white pepper. Stir-fry for a few more seconds, then add the stock and cook until sauce is thicker than water but nowhere near a glaze.

6. Serve on a large platter or in a shallow bowl. Eat hot.

Stir-Fried Fiddleheads


The 2019 Fiddlehead season is over -  See you next year!