Got fiddleheads? They’re around now, especially in wet areas like shaded flood plains. (Look around for pollution like hog farms, etc. before you harvest.)
Once the fronds unfold, they are no longer considered edible, so harvesting while they are still tightly coiled is best done in early spring. The ostrich fiddlehead looks like the carved curl on the end of a stringed instrument, such as a fiddle. While other ferns, such as the bracken fern are carcinogenic, the ostrich fiddlehead fern is edible once cooked and has a high nutritional value and no known toxins.
They are super easy to cook. Rinse them well first to remove any “scales”. Remember – don’t overcook them. Boil in water for about seven minutes or steam a bit longer until they are soft. Then sauté lightly in butter or your favorite oil with garlic – or not! Season with salt and pepper.