North American Import & Export Blog » Blog Archive » Chef’s Notes: Fiddlehead Ferns
Apr 16, 2009

Chef’s Notes: Fiddlehead Ferns


Fiddlehead Ferns, one of the stars of our wholesale wild produce line, are the scroll-like fronds of any wild edible fern. They grow in clusters near streams on mountain slopes in the NW & NE coasts of North America. Pickers forage the mountains in their “secret spots” where fiddleheads grow every year.

Flavor Profile:

Fiddleheads taste like a cross between asparagus and an artichoke. Their mild flavor and nutty bite will please the most discriminating palate.


They can be used in ways similar to any firm green vegetable and are exciting substitutes for string beans, spinach, artichokes and asparagus. Fiddleheads are great in pasta dishes and as a side for steak, lamb, seafood and poultry.

How to select:

As the fern fronds mature, they will begin to unfurl and become less tender. Therefore, the freshest fronds with the tightest scrolls and brightest jade green color will have the best flavor and texture. When fresh, their aroma is similar to fresh-mowed grass.

Handling & Storage:

Tightly wrap and refrigerate fiddleheads at 35° F to prevent drying. They have a short shelflife and should be used within a couple days.


Before cooking, rub off any brown scales and trim to about 1 inch below the coil of the head. Discard any fiddleheads with black scales. Blanch with a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of baking soda. Then, shock the fiddleheads to retain their beautiful jade green color.


They can be sauteed, stir-fried or steamed. They should be cooked to achieve an asparagus-like texture with a light crunch that gives when bitten into.


A six oz. serving contains 58 calories and .7 grams of fat. Fiddleheads are a good source of vitamins A and C. Fiddlehead ferns should be consumed in small quantities. Do not eat raw.

How to Buy:

Restaurants: give us a call at (888) 276-5955! We’ll overnight them to you, fresh from the mountains!  Home chefs: Buy fiddlehead ferns here.

For information about some of our other foodservice products, visit our Chef’s Notes Collection.

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