What is a Fiddlehead?

3/6/12

I never paid much attention to superlatives until I moved to Singapore. Things and places in Singapore are often lauded for being the First, the Tallest, the Only, the Largest, etc. Now whenever I see something described this way, I can't help but laugh and roll my eyes (and think of some of the silly Singapore superlatives, too).

Before the World Pond Hockey Championship put Plaster Rock, NB on the map, the village's claim to fame was for being home to the World's Largest Fiddleheads. In case you're wondering what a fiddlehead is (also known as Ostrich Fern), there is a handy plaque at the base of the structure which explains it:

Named for their resemblance to the musical instrument 'the fiddle', this plant can only be picked at a certain time in the spring of the year, and is eaten as a green vegetable. 

They are also pre-cooked and frozen by food plants and shipped all over the world as a delicacy.

Local literature tells us, 'Fiddleheads were discovered by the New Brunswick Maliseet population, who in turn told the white settlers. The Maliseet called the fronds 'ma-sos-i-ul', and said that the fiddlehead served as a medicine, as well as food.

That's probably more than you or I ever cared to know about the fiddlehead, but you can say you learned something new today. While I was researching the World's Largest Fiddleheads, I found a list of the world's largest roadside attractions. I smell a road trip coming on...

7 comments:

  1. Fiddleheads are delicious. ;)

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    1. You've piqued my interest in them. Another friend of mine was saying they're pretty good, too. I wonder if I can find them in California.

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  2. Fiddleheads are a specialty in Kuching, less than a ringgit for a bunch at the market. I love to fly there from Singapore for a weekend and eat them with cheap seafood. The beer's the same price though...

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    1. Who knew they could be found in Malaysia, too? So interesting.

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  3. Wonder if they're just an East Coast Canada thing? I've heard of them, but can't say I've ever tried them. In Manitoba in the spring we'd pick wild berries (chokecherries, saskatoons) or wild mushrooms called morels.

    There's a whole page about how to safely prepare fiddleheads on the Health Canada website - http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/kitchen-cuisine/fiddlehead-fougere-eng.php

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