|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 half-pint jars (16 servings)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 16g||6%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||5%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Edible fiddleheads are the unopened fronds of ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). They are a special springtime ingredient that is only available for a few weeks each year.
Whether you are foraging for wild ones in the forest or getting yours from the farmer's market, this recipe is a tasty way to preserve this seasonal treat.
- 1 pound fiddlehead ostrich ferns
- 1 medium onion (peeled, quartered, and cut into thin slices)
- For the Brine:
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/4 cups white-wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or another non-iodized salt)
- 1 or 2 small hot chile peppers (chopped or crushed, you can use fresh or dried)
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (whole)
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds (whole)
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (whole)
- 6 to 8 black peppercorns (whole)
- 4 to 6 spicebush berries (Lindera benzoin, whole, or allspice berries)
Gather the ingredients.
Fiddlehead ferns usually have bits of a brown, papery sheath sticking to the coiled green parts. Remove the brown bits. The easiest way is to fill a large mixing bowl or sink with water. Swish the fiddleheads in the water vigorously.
Transfer the cleaned fiddleheads to a colander, discard the water, and repeat until the water is mostly clear. Trim off any browned ends.
Blanch the fiddleheads: Fiddleheads can be somewhat toxic when eaten raw and must be cooked before consumption (don't worry, they are both safe and delicious once they are cooked). Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the cleaned and trimmed fiddleheads to the water and cook for 4 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Pack the vegetables into clean 1/2-pint canning jars (it is not necessary to sterilize the jars for this recipe). Be sure to leave 1/2-inch headspace.
Brine, Pack, and Can
Gather the ingredients.
Combine the 1 cup water, vinegar, honey, and salt in a small nonreactive saucepan.
Add the chile pepper, spicebush or allspice, mustard, coriander, cumin, and black pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Pour the hot brine over the vegetables in the jars, covering them completely but still leaving 1/4- to 1/2-inch headspace. Screw on canning lids.
Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Using tongs, remove the jars from the water bath and set on a towel-lined flat surface. After the popping sound occurs, indicating a good vacuum seal, retighten the lids. Cool completely before storing in a cool, dark place.
Wait at least one week for the flavors to develop before sampling (they will be even better after a month). The pickles will keep, unopened, at room temperature for at least one year (they are still safe to eat after that, but the quality will decline).
- You can refrigerate leftover brine and use it for future batches of pickles
- Once jars are opened, store in the refrigerator.
- Quick Version: Skip the boiling water bath and store the jars in the refrigerator. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.