The Aroostook County Fiddlehead
Guest Blogger: Clint Deschene
Recently, I was in a meeting and a person reminded me about something that people from the County can overlook…fiddleheads. She stated how eating fiddleheads from Aroostook County had “ruined” her forever because a fiddlehead from Aroostook County had so much more flavor, was simply just so much better, and that she just couldn’t enjoy a fiddlehead from anywhere else.
You know what? She is right! A fiddlehead from “The County” is better. For me it is because of the memories. Growing up, I loved to put on my rubber boots and head out in the woods along a stream with my mom and dad and, “pick me some fiddleheads.” On occasion we had to deal with the anguish that someone had beat us to them, but that just made the experience better in the future when we beat others to this little green diamond of the County.
Don’t just take my word for it, search the web for what restaurants down in the big city charge for these delectable goodies. Fifteen dollars or more! I am not sure what they do to them to charge so much, but my recommendation is much simpler. Go pick some for yourself, boil them for about ten minutes so that they are barely tender, and then toss them in a frying pan over medium heat with a few ounces of olive oil, some salt and pepper and then serve with a squeeze of lemon or vinegar. They will taste so much better because you will have the scent of the fresh air still in your memory from picking them earlier that day.
So for me it isn’t all about eating them, it is about the memories and tradition of heading out on a Saturday or Sunday with my parents and spending some time together. There is a down side to fiddleheads and that is cleaning them. The good news is a family member introduced us to a great way to clean them. Just take a large screened in box and drop it in the rapids of a brook or stream and shake it and turn it. This cleans out all the fiddlehead so that they are perfect for cooking or freezing.
Overall, for my friend from away, I want you to know how right you are that we have the best fiddleheads! But you have only enjoyed half the fun eating them, now I invite you up to get the whole experience and pick them for yourself. Come get connected to the good old-fashioned clean living of Aroostook County and for a reward, cook up one of our little treasures.