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Fiddlehead ferns: The seasonal veggie you’ve never heard of

Fiddlehead fernBy Elizabeth Nolan Brown for

Early spring is prime Fiddlehead fern season. These seahorse-resembling greens are a truly seasonal delicacy, like squash blossoms or certain types of onions; you’re not going to just walk into a grocery store any old time and find Fiddleheads, as you might with produce that has peak seasons but is cultivated year-round.

Why? Because Fiddleheads are harvested from young fern plants while still partially ‘furled,’ or coiled up. Left alone, each Fiddlehead would uncoil into a new, full fern leaf (or “frond”). Once the fronds hit full furl, they become too bitter to eat.

So, yes–Fiddleheads are fun in the way all trendy, rare, short-season fruits and vegetables are, with the added bonus of looking kind of nuts (I feel like kids would really like Fiddleheads). But the best part? They’re loaded with nutrients, from iron to antioxidants to omega-3 fatty acids.

Keep reading for 5 facts about this fun spring fern…

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