An A to Z guide to choosing, storing, preparing, and cooking fresh produce and recipe ingredients.

  • How to Choose Fiddlehead Ferns
    Fiddleheads are the young, furled fronds of the ostrich fern. Choose those that are bright green, tightly wound, and firm, with no brown or mushy spots and stems no longer than an inch or two.

  • How to Store Fiddlehead Ferns
    Fiddleheads lose their fresh flavor and texture quickly, so use them as soon as possible. If you must store them, wrap tightly and refrigerate up to two days.

    How to Prepare Fiddlehead Ferns
    Rub off the brown, papery coating and wash fiddleheads well in several changes of water. Trim or snap off the woody stems.

  • How to Cook Fiddlehead Ferns
    If eaten raw, fiddleheads taste bitter and can cause stomach upset, so they need to be cooked until tender throughout. Simple preparations allow fiddleheads’ unique flavor to shine as a side dish or garnish for salad or meat. Boil or steam fiddleheads for 5 to 10 minutes and serve with melted butter and lemon or a simple vinaigrette, or sauté with garlic in olive oil.

    —Lori Baird

    Real Simple Fiddlehead Fern Recipes:

What's your favorite Fiddlehead Fern recipe?

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what's in season

Fruits and vegetables at their peak right now.

   
  • Parsnips
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  • Radishes
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