Bracken

Pteridium aquilinum

  • the young, tightly coiled tender tips of plant are called 'fiddleheads'.

  • the spring fiddleheads of all varieties of north temperate ferns are edible.

  • remove hair/wool from fiddleheads, soak in salt water to remove bitterness.

  • fiddleheads are best when boiled for half an hour in two changes of water.

  • fiddleheads can be dried for storage.

  • rhizomes can be roasted/pit-steamed, peeled, and pounded to remove whitish edible part from fibers, or chewed to suck out starch.

  • dried rhizomes can be ground into flour.

  • grows in wide range of areas, including foothills and montane region.

  • warning: avoid long term use, has carcinogenic properties.

  • warning: avoid mature bracken, which destroys vitamin B and can cause a deadly blood condition.

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Tacoma, WA

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