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Spring is a great time.  Food wise, if you are committed to eating what you grow, it’s the time of the first fresh veggies.  Some day I’ll be on top of things enough to be enjoying fresh swiss chard and spinach and romaine lettuce right now.  For this year, though, we let nature play the gardener.  Fiddleheads (immature ferns), leeks, and dandelions were our finds this year.  Asparagus is a favorite spring veggie, but I just haven’t gotten around to getting it farm fresh, and I’m not excited enough about it to support California when I can get it from someone closer.  We don’t do well finding mushrooms, so that’s been out, too. 

fiddleheadThe guys picked and processed a lot of fiddleheads.  It

The cleaning box.
The cleaning box.

happened that the baby and the fiddleheads popped out at the same time, so while I was supposed to be resting that first week, they were out harvesting.  The fiddlehead season is only about two weeks long.  In that first week Kyle, Joe, Sam, and one of their friends picked over 125 pounds (not counting the four pounds Keith picked one afternoon).  Mark, in his mechanical genius, rigged a good cleaning machine.  However, they decided picking in the rain was not only no fun, but cemented to little fluffy stuff that otherwise blows off onto the heads.  They didn’t have a market for that many, so creativity took over.  Bout 80 pounds went in the freezer–

Flash frozen fiddleheads
Flash frozen fiddleheads

flash frozen and as good as fresh when heated gently.  Then they started pickling.  While my Ball “canning bible” doesn’t exactly have a recipe for pickling fiddleheads, Mark made a good adaptation.  Those little green guys are good!  We’ve had them on sandwiches, as snacks, and chopped into hot dogs (“sheep dogs,” to be exact–Joe’s experiment with last year’s lamb).  We do have the fiddleheads in the freezer if you want to try them.  Our favorite is stirfried in olive oil with garlic, maybe leeks, and balsamic vinegar.

More on leeks and dandelions later….

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