Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 13: Fiddlehead

Fiddleheads are just starting to burst through the earth into daylight. On a lunchtime stroll around my office today in hopes of absorbing energy from the sun like a plant, I noticed several fuzzy brown fern knobs poking an inch or two above the lawn:

Little fern embryos slowly unfurling, opening themselves to air and light for another season. They look like small animals curled up for a nap. I'm remembering this patch contains interrupted ferns--a fern with big fronds whose green leaflets are "interrupted" by sections of brown, spore-producing leaflets. Interrupted fern fiddleheads are not edible, and in fact would probably make you ill even if you didn't mind their bitter taste. So these critters are safe from this fernavore, at least. 

Here in Maine most fiddleheads on the menu are baby ostrich ferns, and I'm anticipating their appearance in our local markets any day now. My husband steams them, then mixes them with spaghetti pasta and a little butter and parmesan to make a perfect, light, springtime meal. 

Unfurling fern fists
punching their way into light.
Our hearts, too, open.

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