Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Bracken Fiddleheads.


                                                    

This is an appeal to anyone who eats BRACKEN Fiddleheads.

Fiddleheads come from either Bracken or Ferns; they are the young shoots which appear in Spring, that later unfurl to become the plants we all know.

I have read that the Fiddleheads of Bracken can be Carcinogenic, but I also hear that they are widely eaten; especially in Japan and Canada.

                                        

We have a ready supply on hand, so if given the confidence I would rather like to try some. Any info' (especially about the Bracken version) would be gratefully received.




38 comments:

  1. Lots of bracken and ferns here, but I've never heard of anybody eating them.

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  2. There's a page on it in James wongs homegrown revolution book. I thought it had to be the right sort. The plants for a future website is bound to have something on it.

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  3. I read about it in Honest food net or "Hunter.angler.gardner.cook" better to search in the web before you poison yourself.

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    1. Very true. I'm an adventurous eater; but not crazy.

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  4. A quote from L Cameron's 'The Wild Foods of Great Britain', which was published in 1917. " The Brake Fern or Bracken (Pteris aquilina) is found growing nearly everywhere, even on the commons in the vicinage of London. The curled tops when they are newly sprung out of the ground, are edible. They should be cooked and eaten exactly like asparagus. As the badger has always known, the roots of bracken are also edible, and may be ground and made into bread."

    Please note that I am simply quoting from it, I have not tried it myself, nor do I know whether it is safe to eat them.

    I know you enjoy foraging, but given that this book also suggests that one may eat young brown rats, smoked badger hock and the thighs of grasshoppers, I would suggest a little more research.

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    1. As long as L Cameron wasn't related to David Icke I'll believe him. Sounds encouraging; thanks.

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  5. They look like something done by a crochet hook. I thought you had gone mad. I am expecting a knitting pattern tomorrow.

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    1. Ask and it shall be given.... well, maybe not this time. I liked your Telegrams.

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    2. Thank you. Just something i banged out in a couple of minutes, ha ha. On the fiddleheads I just read Elaine's bit and see badgers like them. That is in itself enough to put me off.

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  6. It will be an interesting experiment - are you insured?

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    1. When I see Lady M taking out extra life insurance, I'll begin to worry

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  7. I read in an outdoors and running magazine that you shouldn't inhale bracken spores as they could cause cancer.

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    1. I think I've heard that too. As long as I don't breathe in, I should be OK.

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    2. You should be fine... they taste like asparagrus...
      but without the after effects.
      It is the bracken spore that is a carcinogen...
      there are no spores around until the leaves are fully mature.... just wash the young shoots well under running water [expensive here in France].
      Richard Maybe [Food for Free] reckons they are good for early salads, once cooked and cooled.
      Anyone who eats these does the world a favour...
      the shoots don't get a chance to make spores...
      and the spores won't make any damned bracken!!

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  8. They do look rather like curled up caterpillars…. That in itself would put me off !

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  9. Farmers' markets (which are big business in Canada) have many stalls of fiddle heads at a certain time of the year - we have usually gone in May. I have tried them in a restaurant and I must say they were delicious.

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    1. I'd heard they were widely eaten in Canada, I wonder what sort they were.

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  10. I don:'t know about eating them, but they sure look pretty!

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  11. Hi Cro. Can't speak for French ferns but over here in New England we gather fiddleheads every spring. Our edible variety, aka the ostrich fern, (Matteuccia Struthiopteris) is tasty and a nice change from asparagus. Take someone who knows what they've doing the first time to learn which is edible. They're actually quite simple to identify. Easier than mushrooms!

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    1. I've just had a look at them on Wiki, and they look like ones that grow around here. I may be brave and try some. I think I may forget the Bracken ones.

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  12. I understand that it is the spores - when in season - from the Bracken which is carcinogenic when inhaled. I spent a lot of my childhood playing in amongst Bracken in the Springtime...

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  13. Fiddle heads fried in butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper. I remember Dad telling me that was a family favourite when he was a kid. Also it was the depression and they would eat almost anything to stay alive.

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  14. Never heard of Bracken fiddleheads. Here in Maine though fiddleheads are available in supermarkets in the spring.
    All you wanted to know about our local variety.
    http://umaine.edu/publications/4198e/

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    1. Thanks for that. I've bookmarked the page (and video) to look at again in Spring. I'm not too sure now if our local Ferns are the right ones!

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    2. Interestingly Wikipedia has this to offer about the bracken variety:
      "there is some evidence that certain varieties of fiddleheads, e.g. bracken (Pteridium genus), are carcinogenic. It is recommended to roast fiddleheads to destroy the shikimic acid. Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) is not thought to cause cancer, although there is evidence it contains a toxin unidentified as yet."
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiddlehead_fern
      and:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bracken

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    3. I'm now even less encouraged to try them. Thanks.

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  15. Ooooo Cro ….. be careful ….. we'd all miss you !!!!
    I've seen many a recipe { although I don't think that you have to do much with them ! } on American/Canadian blogs for fiddleheads ….. just make sure that they're the right ones…. who would pickle Lady M's onions ?!!! XXXX

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  16. Hi Cro, in NZ some chefs cook something similar, it is called Pikopiko, they forage it from the bush usually. Google it and you will see it looks like the second picture in your post. Never eaten it myself though.

    Jo in Auckland, NZ

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    1. Thanks. That does seem to be the same thing. They do look nice, don't they.

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  17. I'd just stick to asparagus.

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    1. You're probably right. I'm sure if they tasted that good, all the locals would be eating them. The fact that they don't is 'telling'.

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  18. Wow, I eat fiddleheads every spring so here's hoping they're not carcinogenic. I LOVE them! Apparently they are not safe to preserve at home...

    http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/safety-salubrite/fiddlehead-fougere-eng.php

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  19. I don't think you can eat bracken. For fiddleheads we blanch them twice to remove any toxins. Usually the first blanching turns the water a coppery color, then the second blanching is much lighter in color. Finally they're fried in butter.

    http://umaine.edu/publications/4198e/

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  20. Fiddleheads are great. We eat ostrich fern fiddleheads. Rinse them well to remove soil, then blanch and lightly fry in butter as 'Culinary Pen' just wrote. They're supposedly not good for you if you eat them raw, but they don't taste good raw anyway.

    Don't be afraid - they're great! (So is bread pudding.)

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  21. Like Brenda, I've only ever eaten the ostrich fern fiddleheads. If you pluck your own, they'll need to be washed with several changes of water. If you buy them from a store, not as many changes of water required.

    I always sauté mine in some olive oil; sometimes I add garlic, salt, and pepper in any combination. I'm sure they'd be delicious roasted, I just don't have the patience to wait for them, as sautéing them is faster.

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