Years ago ostrich fern fiddleheads were eaten raw.  Not anymore.  In 1994, the CDC found an outbreak of food borne illness to be the result of consuming raw fiddleheads.  Here is a basic recipe with the all important 12 minutes of cooking in boiling water.  Serve these as a side dish or use them as a garnish for  fish, spring greens salad, or mashed potatoes.  In New England fiddleheads can be found in some produce departments, at a farmers market, or along a stream bank.  Only go harvesting if you are sure you can identify the ostrich fern, have permission of the landowner (if they are on private land), and harvest sustainably.  It is recommended only two fronds be harvested from an individual plant per season.   See my blog post for photos of the ostrich fern and links to learn more about foraging for them.

Wild Fiddleheads with Feta


  • Prep time
  • 15 minutes
  • Cook time
  • 15 minutes
  • Total time
  • 30 minutes
  • Allergy

  • Milk
  • Dietary

  • Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegetarian
  • Meal type

  • Side Dish
  • Misc

  • Child Friendly, Serve Hot

Foraging for fiddleheads is half the fun! The other half is getting to eat these nutritious spirals of energy and mystery. Cooked simply, following the safety recommendations, these ostrich fern fiddleheads are adorned with a little butter, lemon juice, and locally produced goat feta cheese.


  • 2 cups Ostrich Fern Fiddleheads (Rub off some of the papery covering, perhaps outside in the wind)
  • 1 tablespoon organic butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)
  • 2oz feta cheese (crumble or dice any local feta )


  • Step 1
  • Rinsing the brown papery covering off of fiddleheads before boiling them.

    Rinse in a bowl of cold water to remove papery brown coverings. Repeat.
  • Step 2
  • Boining spring fiddleheads and timing with my iphone by Luscious and Local

    Add to a pot of boiling water. Boil for 12 minutes.
  • Step 3
  • The cooling ice bath after boiling and before the butter treatment by Luscious and Local

    Drain and plunge the fiddleheads into ice cold water for one minute. Drain completely and lay on linen kitchen towel to soak up remaining water.
  • Step 4
  • Almost the last step before serving enchanting ostrich fern fiddleheads

    Heat the fiddleheads with the butter and optional lemon juice just enough to warm and coat with the butter.
  • Step 5
  • Fiddleheads cooked and ready for the table by Luscious and Local

    Scoot them into a serving bowl and sprinkle with feta cheese. Enjoy