Discussion in 'Flora & Fauna' started by Jim L., Mar 15, 2019.
I came across these on a short walk on my property today....
Thanks for looking.
Yummy, just add pork scraps, boiled potato and finnan haddy.
Ok, now I'm confused...
Two apparently different varieties... so far...
I thought you couldn’t eat the “fuzzy” ones? I’m pretty sure the second ones are the way to go! Guess I better get out there soon!
Eat the ones with the groove going down the stems.
Yeah, don't eat the fuzzy ones.
Couldn't find my photos so I went with the online ones.
This is what the fiddleheads look like that I harvest. The young Ostrich Fern. They have a kinda brown waxy paper attached.
This picture shows nicely the groove @Seacapt. mentioned.
Found a couple of my photos.
Just starting my forging journey, Where is the best places to look for them. I'm in E. TN
What you want is the ostrich fern fiddle head. They are smooth (no fuzzys) and have a distinctive grove (like celery) going up the stalk. Just be careful not to over harvest, once the fiddle head is removed the plant is incapable of producing a new shoot from that stalk. Taking one or two from each plant should be ok. If the plant has only one or two shoots, leave it alone as it will need those to survive and create more.
We must only have the one variety around here. Usually cook them in butter and garlic. Tasty till they start to uncoil,then turn bitter
Thank you and thanks @Jim L.! I like eating them but harvesting them (in truth, most wild edibles) myself always seems risky. I did buy some fresh fiddleheads from a farmer's market last year though, and combined with your post and this thread I think I'm going to be brave this year and give it a go, assuming I can still find them.
Nice find Jim! thanks for sharing buddy.
I look around low shady areas near streams and brooks. Skunk Cabbage is a good indicator.
You'll find them. I have faith!
Thanks for the faith! The quest for Fiddleheads shall begin soon. We've still got snow and ice here but we had a bit of a melt last week.
To my knowledge, at least for my area, the only two ferns that have truly edible fiddleheads are Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) and Ostrich fern (Mattuccia struthiopteris). Based on your photos, which (no insult intended) aren't the best for positive identification, neither of your ferns appear to be either of those two ferns.
Bracken is an easy fiddlehead to identify. New fiddleheads will be emerging from existing rhizomes (long, runner roots). Last year's brown stems (rachis) will still be attached to the rhizome. Follow the new fiddlehead down to the runner, trace the runner to an old stem. The stem should be smooth (no leaflets) for about a foot or so from the ground and should branch off in a three-pronged set of fronds (leaves). If the leaves are gone, you can still usually see the remnants of the three branches that form a "turkey foot". If you don't see the turkey foot, it ain't Bracken.
I don't believe that the other fern is ostrich fern (although, I admit that I've only seen it twice, because it isn't common in my area). However, if you look at the arrangement of the pinnules (leaflets) along the rachis, the pinnules descend in size toward the base of the rachis (like the small fibers on an ostrich feather). none of your photos show this arrangement. The lower pinnules are all the same length. This could be because it is Ostrich fern that is in an early growth form, or because it isn't ostrich fern. In either way, i don't believe that you have enough information available to make a positive identification. And if you can't positively ID it, you probably shouldn't eat it.
The very bottom photo in post #3 i believe to be Sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis), which doesn't have many sources citing its edibility, but is apparently toxic to livestock and horses in larger quantities.
Your best bet is to record where you found these, return later in the season when you can ID them, then remember where to come next spring, if they turn out to be edible.
Wow. After the last post, I don't know if I want to look for them or not. I'm new to all this and sure don't want to wake up dead.
Thanks @Sandcut for the info.. I'll have to check if out.
Copy that!! @#$%^&* learning wild edibles!!
Don't give up on learning wild edibles. Just don't go at it without doing a little homework first.
Start out by learning how to ID plants first. Most folks start out trying to learn common edibles first, but they often try to force all plants that look similar, to be the edible they're looking for. Further, edible plant books only show one or two of a type of plant when the number of species in that family are numerous. For example, Peterson's edible and medicinal plant book shows two edible goldenrods. In my state, there are 35 different goldenrods that also hybridize easily.
Take learning plants slowly. Try to learn only one or two plants each time you go out. Review the ones you learned the last trip on the next trip. Read about plants that look similar and figure out the field characters that distinguish the different plants from one another. Before long, you've learned 20, 30, 40 new plants. Then you can learn to identify the different plants during the various seasons, because milkweed in early summer looks different from milkweed in fall, looks different than milkweed that persists over the winter.
Just don't make the mistake of thinking that all plants are safe because they're natural. Misidentification can be dangerous.
Just take it slow. Start with a plant that is common in your AO. Do your homework and ask questions. When I started I knew nothing. Now foraging, especially mushroom hunting, has become a huge part of my outdoor experience. I am not even close to being an expert. I have one simple rule...If I'm not 110% sure it stays where it is till I am.