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Ode to Fiddleheads

Ode to Fiddleheads

Thank you for sharing your Victoria Day weekend traditions with us in your comments on last week’s blog post. I loved reading through them and hearing about how you spend your long May weekend.

This coming Monday is Memorial Day, which means a long weekend for our southern neighbours!

Again, I would love to hear how you celebrate this holiday in your hometown. I imagine it’s similar to our Victoria Day, with barbeques or in honour/honor of our US cousins spelling barbecues and fireworks. I look forward to hearing about it.

Our restaurant is now open for the season with limited hours and a limited menu for a few weeks to get the season started.  Yesterday we were so happy to be serving both familiar faces and new customers alike. If you’re in our neck of the woods over the coming months, be sure to stop in for a bite. 

Speaking of Island dining, when I was at the grocery store this week, I spotted a seasonal treat that only sticks around for a short while… fiddleheads!

Though not a big crop here in PEI, fiddleheads harvesting is on a larger scale in our neighbouring province of New Brunswick, and you can find them in farmers markets and most grocery stores here for a couple of weeks in May.

Fiddleheads or Fiddlehead greens are the young or baby shoots of ferns. They get their names because they resemble heads of fiddles!

We enjoy them in the same way we do asparagus, which is plentiful in our garden presently. 

Trim and well rinse the young ferns, removing any damaged parts or brown leaves. In a pot, bring a small amount of water to a boil, place steamer basket in or above the water. Cover and cook until tender but still crisp. Drain, I like to put my greens back into a small frying pan with butter, salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste. 

If you wish to read more about the fiddleheads, Wikipedia has a more in-depth article on it. Its heritage is from our native the Maliseet, Mi'kmaq, and Penobscot peoples of Eastern Canada and Maine introduced the vegetable to the Acadian settlers in the 1780's. 

I am curious, do you eat fiddleheads? Any family fiddlehead stories?

Have a great week and thank you for your time today.




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Judy heinlen - May 29, 2017

Fiddleheads … did not know anything about them!!!! Fun to read ,will try sometime if I get a chance. Judy

Mary Winch - May 28, 2017

We grow them in our yard here in Pennsylvania. Harvest some and leave some to grow for next year. It’s a short season for them, but they are enjoyed!

Eileen targett - May 28, 2017

Love these with butter salt and pepper. I grew up on them in Quebec, and my husband has found a patch here in PEI to go picking every spring….yummy.

Wendy - May 27, 2017

I was eating fiddleheads before I knew that most people had never heard of them! My brother, who lives in Fredericton, brings several pounds to the Island with him, when he comes to visit. Fiddlehead quiche, and Cream of fiddlehead soup are delicious, but my favorite is still a huge pot of these yummy ferns, steamed until tender, well drained, with butter, salt and pepper! NOTHING says Spring like fiddleheads!

Michelle Reed - May 27, 2017

My husband and I are “come from aways” who have learned about fiddleheads from Nova Scotia and PEI friends. We first had them at the Saltscapes restaurant near Truro and loved them! We have become good friends with our B&B owner and she has fixed them for us. Living in Ohio we had never heard of them. We both love them!

About our Memorial Day celebrations we usually have a picnic with barbequed hamburgers or hot dogs. I still have an uncle who is a WWII veteran (he turned 94 yesterday) and he is very special to us. Sadly we live hours away from our families so we miss them, but I try to focus on the day as much as I can to honor those who have given so much for me to be free. Happy Memorial Day to all who served both from the US and Canada!

Jean Elliott - May 27, 2017

We always had fiddleheads in N.B. When we moved to Ont. we didn’t see them in the grocery stores until about 10 yrs.ago. Here in Kitchener-Waterloo area, they are in Zehrs and Farm Boy. I freeze lots for winter. Also we loved and miss sandfire greens, which grow on the marshes and near the water. The family still talk about camping on PEI 30+ years ago, and picking the greens, digging clams, etc.

Janet Mullin - May 27, 2017

Putting up fiddleheads is a long-standing tradition in my family! One of my favourite rituals every spring was helping my mother process at least 15 lb for the freezer. We had an assembly line in our Fredericton back yard – buckets, pans, the hose, a couple of paring knives. Fiddleheads freeze beautifully, so we’d have fiddleheads all winter, as many as we liked, on as many occasions as we liked. I still put up at least 10 lb myself each year!


Bevely Fienberg - May 27, 2017

I’m your neighbor to the south. Southern California to be exact. I have never heard of fiddleheads. Are they sweet?

Donna Martin - May 27, 2017

I love fiddle heads but not all stores carry them up here. A number of years ago whilst shopping, I noticed the grocery store had a large bin of these delicious greens. Being greedy, I filled 2 large bags. When I got to the checkout, the cashier looked at them and looked at me. I thought that I would have to explain to her what they were (this has happened before). Instead I heard an incredibly strong Newfie accent proclaim, " Fiddleheads! We’re selling Fiddleheads!" I’m not sure if I left enough for her…

Cynthia Chugg - May 27, 2017

I just served fiddleheads to our friends visiting from Mexico. They liked them. At my home in NB we harvest lots in the marsh below my sisters home. (They are sooo good for you)

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