Monday, 19 May 2008

Feasting on Fiddleheads

Although I'm currently considered a "Bluenoser" based on my place of residence, I originally hail from the North shore of New Brunswick. To be specific, I grew up in the sleepy little village of Tide Head. At first glance, the community of Tide Head appears rather ordinary, however, it just happens to be the self-proclaimed fiddlehead capital of the world! Growing up, a sure sign of spring in our household was a hearty serving of fiddleheads on our dinner plates.

For those who are scratching their heads as to why we crazy New Brunswickers would choose to chomp on something that sounds like a musical instrument, let me enlighten you. Fiddleheads are the uncoiled greens of the ostrich fern. They are abundant in many parts of the world, but are mainly harvested in Northeastern Canada and the US. This delicacy is picked in early spring, when the tender green shoots are peeking out of the earth just an inch or two.

My parents, who just moved to Nova Scotia over a year ago, were pleased and relieved to find a fresh supply of fiddleheads at the local farmers market. Though available in Nova Scotia, they don’t seem to be as abundant or widely enjoyed as in our hometown. “Fiddleheading”, as it is known, is part of the culture in Northern New Brunswick. I have clear childhood memories of venturing to our family’s “secret spot” each spring to fill our buckets for dinner. My mother would blanch and freeze our crop so we could enjoy our greens throughout the year.

What’s so great about fiddleheads one might ask? Firstly, they are delicious. Boiled and topped with a generous pat of butter, these tender, mouth-watering greens are delectable. Chi-Chi was introduced to fiddleheads at a very young age and he is hooked. He gobbles them up and asks for seconds. Dear little Muffy is another story. He is currently being convinced that it would be worthwhile to just try a bite! As a mommy, I’m glad to report that fiddleheads also happen to be a nutritional powerhouse. They are chock full of vitamins and minerals.

Not surprisingly, the Wool Fairy sought inspiration in the arrival of the fiddleheads this season. She whipped up a few tasty greens for Chi-Chi and Muffy’s play kitchen. Strangely enough, Muffy won’t stop chomping on the wool variety. Perhaps he’ll come around soon on the real thing! He won’t be disappointed!

1 comment:

cowbaychica said...

Um, have you ever tried (not as healthy but mighty delicious) adding bacon to your fiddle heads?
I grew up where fiddleheads grew behind my house.. every year I looked forward to fiddlehead season. I am sure the buttery dish is much more healthy.. but I tell you.. cooking bacon, then frying your boiled fiddleheads in a bit of the bacon fat.. I can't think of anything better.. give it a try.. I bet you'll love it :)