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Clearing Up Confusion About the Fiddlehead Fern
Michalis 'BIG Mike' Kotzakolios

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There is a great deal of confusion surrounding the fiddlehead fern. What is it? Is it edible, or poisonous? Answers to these questions can be found by looking more closely at ferns.

Technically speaking, all ferns are a fiddlehead fern. A fiddlehead fern, sometimes called a crozier, is nothing more than the curled new fronds of any clump fern. However, the fiddleheads of some ferns, most notably the ostrich fern and the cinnamon fern, can be cooked and eaten as a delicacy. When cooked in this way, the fiddleheads of ostrich and cinnamon ferns, and some others, are referred to as a "fiddlehead fern.

Some ferns, such as the bracken fern, are carcinogenous and might be implicated in stomach cancer. When buying 'fiddleheads' for cooking, or when eating them in a restaurant, find out, if possible, whether the fiddleheads are from ostrich or another "safe" fern, or from an iffy fern such as Bracken ferns. If you cannot find this out, don't despair; just make sure that your fiddleheads are well cooked, as this has been suggested to neutralize any toxins in the ferns, including bracken ferns. Make it a habit to never eat ferns raw, even if you are certain they're from a 'safe' fern such as ostrich, as raw ferns can cause food poisoning. Just make sure they're thoroughly cooked, and you can enjoy your fiddlehead--even the fiddleheads of the bracken fern--without fear.

Unless you have a background in wildcrafting, or can learn from someone who does, it isn't suggested that you try to gather fiddleheads for yourself. It can be difficult to tell one fern from another, and, as with mushrooms, it simply isn't worth the risk. If you do want to gather your own, find a wildcrafter or a wild herbalist and get them to show you which ferns are safe for eating. The fiddlehead fern is a delicious specialty food, but, as with many other specialty foods, care must be taken to make sure the food is safe.

BIG Mike is a well known author, developer and Adsense expert as well as the owner of Niche Maniacs - a unique Adsense Marketing System designed to build long-term passive income streams from Adsense, Amazon, YPN, Chitika and other PPC services.

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