Simple Sauteed Fiddleheads


I have lived in quite a few places. That wasn’t meant to sound like I’ve led an exotic life. In reality it means that we moved around a lot as a kid, and for some reason that Gypsy-gene I have hasn’t seemed to settle down much as an adult. We have moved around a lot I think.

Here we are in Saskatchewan for the last two-ish years and I have to say I feel like this place finally has some staying power. We haven’t lived here the longest by comparison to our other homes, but we have given it a sense of permanence. We own a house here. A house we love. A house we are investing our time, energy, and money into making our perfect home. We also own a business here. One that we feel blessed to have been successful with.

There aren’t a lot of reasons I can think of that would make us leave Saskatchewan.

Oh sure, my mind wanders back to the Dominican Republic on a daily basis. I miss it there. But I know that unless life was to take a drastic turn we aren’t going to live there again.

Besides, I’ve become enamored with the local food movement here in Saskatchewan. There are so many unique varieties of edibles that I have never experienced until living here. Sure, British Columbia has it’s vineyards and orchards and roadside fruit stands and wineries. But Saskatchewan has some pretty awesome stuff going for it too.


I don’t think I realized this until I went to SaskMade Marketplace here in Saskatoon. Basically, this is a shop you can buy just about anything made locally in this province from arts and crafts, personal products like handmade soap, to foodie items like spice blends, wild rice, mustard, and of course, Saskatoon Berry products like crazy.

I know that this is not the only store of it’s kind here in Saskatoon. In fact, the Saskatoon Farmers Market is an excellent place to find great local products. Same with Souleio, located Downtown. The Bulk Cheese Warehouse (they don’t seem to have a website!) carries excellent local and seasonal items as well.

Right now is early summer in Saskatchewan. This means the window of opportunity for finding and eating fiddleheads is closing rapidly. I missed fiddlehead season entirely last year. This year I was fortunate enough to be wandering through SaskMade Marketplace and found a liter-sized container of fiddleheads packed in water. Turns out they also have frozen fiddleheads available for when the season has passed. The fiddleheads were picked and packed by Prairie Infusions.

cleaned fiddleheads

cleaned fiddleheads

Let me talk a bit about fiddleheads okay?

What are fiddleheads? These little things are the curled fronds of the ostrich fern which are harvested before they’ve fully matured and unfurled. There have been a number of reports of food borne illness as a result of eating fiddleheads but despite research into what caused the illness the exact cause is not known.

Health Canada has issued a very clear statement which I think we all should take to heart. “Under no circumstances should fiddleheads be eaten raw.”

Don’t worry though, proper cleaning and handling reduces the risk of getting sick.

I can’t help but feel a bit like I’m living on the edge cooking fiddleheads for dinner tonight. Like, such a risk-taker, right here.

Okay I just took a bite.

I’m still alive.

Haha, let’s just scale back the drama a bit Megs. You won’t die from the toxin in a fiddlehead. I don’t think so anyway. But if you don’t take the care to prepare it properly you might experience some nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and headaches – just like any other food borne illness really.

Fiddleheads aren’t too complicated to prepare properly. You wash them really well, a couple times. Remove any brown husks you see and trim the ends. There are a couple options for cooking them. I did the boiling method. Next time I’ll do the steaming method. I think it might help them be a bit more firm at the end of it all.

Boiling Method: Cook in a generous amount of water for 15 minutes. Drain and discard the water used.

Steaming Method: Steam for 10-12 minutes. Discard any water used.

So, like this blog post title indicates this is a really simple way to prepare prepared fiddleheads. (Does that make sense to you? It sort of makes sense to me.) This is a simple way to finish cooking the prepared fiddleheads. (Better?)

Simple Sauteed Fiddleheads
  • 3 cups (approx) fresh or frozen fiddleheads, cleaned and cooked as indicated above
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Lemon wedge, optional
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and saute just until softened.
  3. Add fiddleheads. Saute about 4 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Spritz with fresh lemon juice, if desired.

 sauteeing fiddleheads

sauteed fiddleheads

sauteed fiddleheads

I was telling my mom as I was boiling my fiddleheads about what I was making for dinner. She told me that she used to cook and eat them all the time when she lived in Northern BC. That is, until they were banned. In all my research about fiddleheads I didn’t notice anything about a ban on these little guys. But you know how I like to be dramatic? Well I get it from my mother. And I love her for it. I’m not sure if they were banned or not. Northern BC was before my time. Either way, obviously people were getting sick from not cooking them properly.

At the end of this long post I finally have a real opinion about fiddleheads. They’re considered a delicacy for a reason. The price and the preparation before even cooking make these a treat for just once a year. I guess it’s a good thing the season is so short.

So until we meet again Fiddleheads. . .

This time again next year?

It’s a date.

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