Fiddleheads – a PSA


by JenniferA - Bread and Putter on May 10, 2012

These are fiddleheads, one of those delicious yet fleeting spring treats.  I picked some up at my local grocery store this weekend and I was so excited!  There were only a few packages, and it didn’t say anything about where they came from.  But still, fiddleheads!  Wheee!

I’ve cooked fiddleheads before.  Not often, since they aren’t always available.  I have a friend who lives in the hills who often picks them and gives me a few, and I have bought them one or two other times.  I cooked the ones I bought this week last night.  And they were just okay.  They were kind of bland.  I sauteed them in olive oil with a little garlic.  Sounds okay, right??  It’s not!!

Don’t be like me.  Don’t flake out on how to cook something when you aren’t really sure or don’t do it often.  A quick Google search would have reminded me that you have to boil or steam them before you do anything else to them.

Yeah.  I just threw them in the pan and sauteed for about 5 minutes.  Though neither of us mentioned it to each other at the time, my husband and I both went to bed nauseated, both apparently thinking it was nothing and would go away.  Then we both woke up in the middle of the night running to the bathroom.  Okay, both sick, both same timeframe, it must be something we ate.

Sure enough, I googled fiddleheads this morning and found this enlightening article

Symptoms of illness appear within 30 minutes to 12 hours of eating raw or undercooked fiddleheads and can last for as long as three days.

Experts said if you are eating fiddleheads, remove as much of the husk as possible before cooking them and never eat them raw. Also, wash the fiddleheads well using fresh, cold water and throw away the water used for boiling or steaming fiddleheads, as it may contain the toxin.

Well, fiddledeedee. I guess I’ll be on the fiddlehead diet for the next couple days. Crackers and water sound good.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Theresa May 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Oh no! I’ve been wondering how one prepares fiddleheads – in case I ever get over the fact that they look like centipedes and decide to eat them – so THANK YOU for sharing this valuable lesson with us. I’m just sorry you had to learn in the hard way :( Feel better soon!


JenniferA - Bread and Putter May 11, 2012 at 12:13 am

Thank you! And now that I have that centipede image PLUS the memory of illness, I may never eat them again. 😉


Valerie @ Sex, Food, and Rock & Roll May 11, 2012 at 4:42 am

Holy cow, that sounds awful! Although I’m glad you shared this because I’ve never eaten fiddleheads, know nothing about them, and would have probably done the same thing.

I hope you and your husband feel better soon!


Deb May 12, 2012 at 7:40 pm

I am so glad you posted this PSA! I have never eaten fiddleheads or even seen them at the store or Farmer’s Market. Thanks for sharing, a brave post!


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