Enjoy Spring Fiddleheads, Recipe Included!
Heralding the spring, the tender young shoots of Asparagus and Ostrich Ferns may be found fresh in spring farmers markets. Asparagus and “Fiddleheads” are early spring veggies loaded with nutrients.
Maybe you’ve seen the green spiraled fern heads in the produce section of the grocery store but were unsure of what to do with them? There’s no reason to be intimidated. Fiddleheads are the furled fronds of young ostrich ferns, typically harvested in early spring, late March through early June. You treat them like you would asparagus, cooking lightly until tender crisp and preserving their nutrients. Fiddleheads are quite high in B vitamins, beta carotene and vitamin C, especially high in copper and manganese along with iron, and a variety of trace minerals and potassium. They contain healthy fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. They don’t keep that well, so use them within 2 days of purchase for maximum nutritional benefit.
While we can enjoy asparagus year-round, you will see the price go down significantly this time of year with the local harvests, so take full advantage! Asparagus is a great source of vitamin C and iron, which is great, since vitamin C improves the absorption of iron! A great source of folate, vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as iron, copper, calcium, protein, and fiber. Asparagus contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine, making it a natural diuretic. In other words, eating more of the spears can help flush excess fluid and salt from your body- nature’s spring cleaning!
These veggies are high in antioxidants and nutrients which help support the immune system. Coming out of winter “hibernation” and experiencing exposure to spring allergens can tax our immune systems, and extra Vitamin A and C, folate and B6, can be supportive. Please take advantage of these local seasonal treats!
Roasted Asparagus and Fiddleheads
- 1 cup fiddleheads – Remove as much of the brown papery husk on the fiddleheads as possible.
- Wash the fiddleheads in several changes of fresh, cold water to remove any residual husk or dirt.
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 F
- Steam fiddleheads for 5 – 7 minutes until tender.
- Place fiddleheads and asparagus on baking sheet (line with parchment paper if desired) and drizzle with half the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 7 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and rotate asparagus and fiddleheads, and drizzle with remaining oil, salt and pepper. Return to oven and roast an additional 5-7 minutes.
Lisa Murray RDN, LD
Lisa is a Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist and Medical Educator for Emerson Ecologics. Herbalist, nutrition counselor, writer and educator, Lisa’s passion is teaching others how to integrate botanicals and nutrition supplements into a healthy diet and lifestyle, for optimal health and healing.