In Season: Fiddleheads

The vibrant, spiraled ferns are only here for a few short weeks.

Stepping into a big box grocery store, it’s easy to think that all produce grows all year round—but that’s hardly the case. In this series, we’ll highlight one in-season produce pick a week.


Fiddle-what? Maybe you’ve seen the green spiraled ferns in the produce section of the grocery store and walked on by, unsure of what to do with them. There’s no reason to be intimidated—let us demystify this unique vegetable.

Fiddleheads are furled fronds of young ferns, and are typically harvested in Massachusetts in early spring, for only a few weeks. The plants don’t last long, which is why they can be a novelty to see. Here’s how you can try them this spring.

Nutrition: These ferns are high in vitamins A and C, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a good source of potassium and iron.

Why that’s important: Vitamins A and C help the body resist against infections and keep the immune system strong. Omega-3 fatty acids enhance memory and may help reduce inflammation, while potassium and iron play key roles in blood and heart health.

Where to find them: Look for them at upcoming farmer’s markets or in your local grocery store. While they can be pricey for a whole pound, a little can go a long way.

Five ways to eat them:

1. Spicy Sweet Fiddlehead Chickpea Pasta
via Healthy. Happy. Life. 

Sautéed chickpeas and fiddleheads will update your typical pasta. Wait for the chickpeas and fiddleheads to toast in the pan for a crispier, more flavorful dish. Top with shredded cheese, or leave it out to keep this dish vegan.

2. Spring Lemon Risotto with Asparagus and Fiddlehead Ferns
via The Kitchn

Lemon and parmesan cheese complement the fiddleheads and asparagus in this spring recipe. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock to make this risotto vegetarian-friendly.

3. Fiddlehead Frittata
via Food52

Mushrooms and garlic pair well with eggs and cheese in this fiddlehead frittata. Use egg whites and low-fat ricotta cheese to cut down on calories.

4. Fiddlehead Fern and Edamame Salad
via Sea Salt with Food

This simple, nutrient-dense salad is perfect as a light meal or as a side dish to a main course. Boil the soybeans and ferns, and top with a lemon pepper dressing. Add in feta cheese, almonds, or dried fruit to switch up the flavor combinations.

5. Pickled Fiddlehead Ferns
via Serious Eats

Pickling fiddleheads allows you to enjoy them even when they’re out of season. Enjoy them on top of eggs and toast, or pair with meats and cheeses.