If you’re thinking of expanding your greens intake and incorporating something new and cool into your diet, I highly recommend adding fiddleheads to your grocery list. These beautiful and uniquely coiled-shaped ferns are often used as a decorative garnish, but they can also be a fabulous main, like a replacement for pasta!
The FYI on Fiddleheads
Fiddlehead greens emerge around spring and grow mostly in the wet, coastal areas of Canada. They can often be found along the edges of rivers and streams. If you’re not up for foraging for them on your own, the local market is always a good place to purchase them.
Most people would put them in a similar category as asparagus or broccoli, but they are uniquely their own plant, deriving from the Ostridge Fern. Either pickled with oils or cooked and incorporated in salads, meals, and soups, they’re fascinating to experiment and play with in the kitchen.
Also, these fun and pretty coils offer more health benefits than you probably know!
Increase Your Immunity
Fiddlehead greens are extremely rich in Vitamin C. The natural water-soluble qualities make them great antioxidants against infectious agents. The nutrients help your body develop resistance against viruses, which keep you healthy from coughs and colds.
The unique combination of antioxidants help regulate and reduce inflammation, while simultaneously finding and tackling the free radicals that are always attempting to enter your body. (Game on!)
Up Your A-Game
The Vitamin A found in fiddleheads is not only essential for your vision, but also keeps your kidneys, bladder, and skin in top shape. In fact, Vitamin A is key in maintaining your skin’s elasticity and regulates mucus production that helps keep your internal glands moist, preventing dryness.
Jump on the Omega Train
Fiddlehead greens also contain an excellent source of essential Omega-3 fatty acids. The oils enhance your memory, lower cholesterol levels, and promote and maintain weight loss.
Bottom line? These fun veggies are a great green to incorporate into your spring diet. But be quick—they’re only in-season for about 3-4 weeks in April/May. Also, I recommend cooking (they should be cooked before consumed!) and enjoying your fiddleheads within a day or so of purchasing/foraging them—they don’t last long.
(Good things rarely do.)
For information on cooking and storing fiddleheads properly, visit Health Canada.