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Old 04-24-2008, 10:05 PM   #1
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Default Nettles, Fiddleheads...other Springtime foods

Anyone else into these?

I recently collected a full shopping bag of Fiddleheads, and another of Water Cress. I love Fiddleheads steamed and served with Butter, Salt and Lemon. I might make steam some and make them with an herb Vinaigrette next round. Nettles are really great as well. Such an easy forage food!

Goes without saying, Morels are awesome...but I prefer to dry the Yellow Morel and reconstitute them for cream reduction sauces. Chicken and Rice comes to mind...heavenly.

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Old 04-24-2008, 10:19 PM   #2
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Fiddleeads are one of my all time favorites! Can't wait to get in to them this year!

Never tried Nettles...wil have to look around for them.

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Old 04-24-2008, 10:25 PM   #3
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Nettles are really great because you can get several cuttings in Spring. They start to get stringy and tough as the weather heats up though, even if you keep cutting them. They also produce little things called "cystoliths" when they get bigger, which aren't good for you. They do sting though! Once heat hits them (or they are dried) the sting is neutralized.

The other nice thing is (unlike some forage foods) you can fill a bag in no time flat, enough for a few meal additions. Always use gloves though! I didn't one year and my thumb and forefinger went numb for almost a day .

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Old 04-24-2008, 10:59 PM   #4
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Fiddleheads are great. SWMBO introduced me to them last year. We picked them up at the farmer's market here in Ann Arbor, which is awesome.

That's a damn tasty looking morel in your avatar, too.

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Old 04-25-2008, 01:39 PM   #5
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I'm all for free food. Especially if you can make it into wine.

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Old 04-25-2008, 01:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e lo
Fiddleheads are great. SWMBO introduced me to them last year. We picked them up at the farmer's market here in Ann Arbor, which is awesome.

That's a damn tasty looking morel in your avatar, too.
I wish that one were mine! Nothing yet here, I am going looking today for a spell though. I have found some huge beautiful Yellow Morels (I feel they are superior to the Black Morel, especially when dried) that were nearly 8" tall. I have seen pics of some huge ones though. I remember the first time I found them, wow what an experience! Whenever I dry them the whole house smells like a nutty, delicious aroma. Man I hope to score some soon.
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Old 04-25-2008, 03:46 PM   #7
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One of my co-workers (mushroom scientist) swears that he always will find morels here on April 28th. I think the recent rains should bring them up. I hope to have some time this weekend to go out and look.

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Old 04-25-2008, 05:17 PM   #8
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IIRC, My mycology professor in undergrad knew a great morel field. She never took anybody there (can't say I blame her), but we did get some tasty treats in class (one of the advantages of having a 6-student class.)

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Old 04-29-2008, 12:40 AM   #9
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I was over at my friends house, which is an old farm with lots of land cooking some chili the other day, when I looked out the window and noticed something growing a few feet from the house. They looked interesting so I pointed them out to my friend, who exclaimed "fiddleheads!"

I've never heard of these before, but we steamed them and sauted them in olive oil and garlic. It mellowed them out some, but man do they have a bitter flavor! Perhaps prepared a little better and served over a steak they might have tasted nicer, but maybe we're doing something wrong. We left about 3/4 of an inch of the stem on when we cooked them, is this common practice? What do you guys do with these? If they're growing so close to house, I'd imagine they're other places on the grounds (of which there are plenty). Might make a nice garnish on some barbeque

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Old 04-29-2008, 01:52 PM   #10
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Hmm, are you certain of the Fern identification? They shouldn't have any wooly hair, but usually a small amount of brown papery stuff is on there. I have never had ones I would describe as 'bitter'.

These are the right ones (Ostrich Fern):




There are a bunch of edible types, but the Ostrich Fern is reputedly the best. I always wash mine thoroughly and then steam until just tender. The water will contain tannins so perhaps this is why. I have had them boiled, but prefer them steamed. The stems are fine to eat. If you have the right fern, make sure that they are still tightly rolled (they can be long, that's fine but the head should be compact). Just break them off, no need to cut and they will produce a few flushes for you. Steam them for about 10 minutes, they'll change color when they make the leap from being undercooked to just right. Imo, the trick is to get them just past the 'green' state and serve them immediately, or cool them in an ice bath and use them as you feel like. I don't care for them crunchy, I like most of my vegetables more on the undercooked side but I think the Fiddleheads taste a little better when just done (but not overcooked). You'll have to play around to see how you like them.

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