Edible Ferns?

rootdiggernc(Z-7A NC)May 3, 2008

I find the native edibles interesting and was wondering just which ferns are edible and how do you prepare them? I did google this and found conflicting info as usual. Some said only the ostrich fern is edible and others said certain others are too if they're boiled first and another listed braken, lady fern and cinnamon ferns as edible but said the ostrich fern is only marginally edible.

So what's what, which ones have you tried and how?

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Tammy Kennedy

Bracken fern used to be considered one of the most edible, but it is a known strong carcinogen now. I believe the one that's eaten most often is ostrich fern. Pete found this great fern book in the lib he got out for me and they talked about harvesting ostrich ferns from the same patch each year. It's written by a new englander. I was gratified to se that 2 of the 3 ostrich ferns i dug at camp last year have come up. That lousy stinking coltsfoot didn't, though- did yours? About ready to give up on it. I'd be interested if ladies and cinnamons are edible since they do so well here.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 9:01PM
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I love love love fiddleheads. Growing up in New England they could be found in May at all the good outdoor markets in the cities. Sauteed in olive oil with a bit of fresh garlic is all we used to do. Oh my, my mouth is watering now. Adele

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 9:57PM
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A co-worker brought back some pickled ostrich ferns from England. Everyone gathered and made a big ceremony of opening the jar and diving in.... they was awful!!!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 2:25PM
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I don't think I'd like the texture, lol.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 3:14PM
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rootdiggernc(Z-7A NC)

Alicia, they do say that if you get them young enough the texture isn't a problem.

Tammy, I did find a few websites that listed others as edible. I think the reason some boil before using it in whatever recipe it is to leach out the bad stuff. Maybe kind of like cooking poke? There's an enzyme in them too that does something to the B vitamins in your body. Cooking destroys that enzyme. Yes the coltsfoot is back and still in the same pot you put it in. I'm afraid to move it now, lol!! We also have motherwort growing. I think that the other plant in there were hitchhikers as there are only two of those. The rest are motherworts! WooHoo!!

John, LOL, had to chuckle at the visual of you all eating those and finding them awful! Was it the pickling or just gross all the way around?

Adele, well at least got one positive on them! From what I've read it may be an aquired taste.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 8:51PM
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Tammy Kennedy

The book that mentioned it said the author thought they had a taste somewhat like asparagus but were soft & slimy- not appetizing to me. He said his wife loved them, though. I wonder, too, how much of it has to do with how you cook them. If i ever have a chance i'll gladly try them. Probably not pickled, though! LOL

I wouldn't trust bracken fern no matter how many times you boiled it- it is too carcinogenic. It wouldn't surprise me if there were others that were edible- esp in the same family as ostriches.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 10:58PM
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I've heard that just lightly grilled or sauteed taste more like asparagus - the pickled ones were too slimy and tasteless to me. Kinda like pine bark, cut thin and boiled to death.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 9:49AM
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