Yesterday we finally got around to cleaning and blanching our fiddleheads. We picked about 6 lbs this year, a little less than we planned on but pretty decent over all.
In case anyone is interested in freezing their fiddleheads, here are a few pointers.
1. Make sure to clean off as much chaff as possible before doing anything else with them. This is best accomplished outside with two 5 gallon buckets (or other similar sized containers). Put all the fiddleheads in one bucket, lift it about 2 feet above the other bucket and slowly pour the fiddleheads out. This works best with a light breeze so the fiddleheads drop down, but the chaff blows away. A large fan could be used to supply the wind on a calm day if need be.
2. Bring in your fiddleheads and rinse them in the sink. Cold water is fine, you’re just trying to get off as much of the sand and small pieces of chaff as you can before you blanch them.
3. Now you are ready to blanch your fiddleheads. Bring your pot of water up to a steady boiler, pour in your fiddleheads and let them stay in there for 2-3 minutes. Make sure the fiddleheads are entirely covered in water.
4. Take them off the heat, drain them and rinse with cold water in the sink. Freeze them immediately. We use quart size freezer bags, but you could use gallon bags or plastic containers if you want to.
That’s it. It’s a lot of work from the time you pick them by the river to when they are cooked and on your plate, but well worth it I think. Last season we had enough that we had fiddleheads for Thanksgiving and Easter!
(Originally published: May 10, 2010.)