Fiddleheads are thriving

2:09 PM, May 10, 2011   |    comments
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GARDINER, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- It's fiddlehead season in Maine.  Picking and cooking the tasty fern is a spring tradition in this region. 

Scott Ramsey of the Bureau of Parks and Lands' says you should look in low, flat, sandy soil along lakes, rivers and streams. The delicacy is formally called an ostrich fern, but better known colloquially as a fiddlehead because its prawns curl into a ball like the ornate head of a stringed instrument.

Ramsey likes to canoe to his favorite spot because it cuts down on the competition.  However, the ferns grow so fast, that if someone has picked over an area, the crop of fiddleheads will be replenished just a couple of days later.

"I invite a lot of people, but they rarely come back because it's such back breaking work," he told NEWS CENTER. "It's a three or four hour process to pick a five gallon bucket full.  However, if you want to give them away, they'll take them in a minute and a half."

Ramsey recommends boiling the fiddleheads several times for a total of twenty minutes.  They used on the plate like broccoli.  Gourmets are using them in everything from omelets to quiche to pizza.


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