When the ostrich fern begins to grow in the spring, it sets forth a stem with a coiled bunch of leaves at the top. This stem and curled top is known as a fiddlehead fern and is a highly sought-after delicacy. While not particularly difficult to find, this wild treat has a limited growing season. Many people pick extra and preserve them for meals later in the year. Before you can or freeze a batch of fiddleheads, you must blanch them to kill the enzymes present in plants that spoil preserved foods.
Things You'll Need
Rinse the fiddleheads and remove any brown papery coating you may find on the tops.
Fill a large pot with water and set it on the stove. Turn the heat on medium-high and bring the water to a boil.
Drop the fiddleheads into the boiling water. Allow them to boil for two minutes.
Pull out the fiddleheads with a small strainer or slotted spoon.
Drop the fiddleheads immediately into a bowl filled with half ice and half water. Swish the ferns around to cool them off as rapidly as possible.
Drain the water off the fiddleheads and preserve them as desired.