Old Town - Spring has sprung and so have fiddleheads! The small green plants are beginning to sprout....and as popular as they may be, there are some things you should know before harvesting and eating them.
First off, they don't always look like the little green curly-cues we're all so familiar with. Sometimes, when emerging from an older plant, the fiddleheads grow out of what looks like a dry pine cone.
Second, if you're heading out to pick the plants you should be aware of some new restrictions this year, as more and more private land is posted. Plus, new bills being discussed in Augusta call for explicit permission from private landowners before picking, and special attention to sustainability.
Keep sustainability alive by picking no more than half the fiddleheads you find in each emerging crown. And if you do get a hefty harvest off some private land....don't forget to be courteous. It never hurts offering some of your gatherings to the landowner.
Once you've got your pickings in tow, its time to eat! But think twice before you pop a raw fiddlehead in your mouth...it has to be fully cooked, or you'll suffer the consequences, including vomiting and diarrhea. To ensure you dont get sick, boil your fiddleheads for about 15 minutes, or steam them for 10-12.
But get to them quickly! Time is running out. Once a group of fiddleheads emerges from the ground, they could be gone in about a week.