We pickled fiddleheads on the weekend after plotting about them earlier in the month.
Our trick for cleaning them was published here.
I worked especially diligently in stuffing the jars tight. I was actually feeling a compassionate twinge for how they were being treated when stuffing them in to the jars. It was this rough treatment that left me somewhat confused when I removed the jars from the hot water bath to find the contents floating in bring with very little solid ingredients at the bottom of the jar.
My dismay was short-lived. Once the jars cooled I found that a quick shake of the jar dispersed it’s content and the jar became full again. This is purely an aesthetic benefit but one that was important to me (after all, fiddleheads are just so darned cool looking).
It has also occurred to be that a quick blanching would allow the fiddleheads to become just a little more malleable and thus fit even more densely into the jars for next year.
Of note, a pound makes about 2 pints (approximately 4 cups or 1 litre/quart) of finished product. At $6 per pound the price can add up in a hurry although my finished jars are still moderately priced at about $4 per jar.
This is an easy spring preserve. Similar to pickled asparagus you can use these in any dish you would eat relish with or use them as a pickle in their own right. Adding a bit of the brine to rice as it cooks (or mixing it into a Bloody Caesar/ Bloody Mary) is a great way to use it
- 2 pounds fiddleheads, cleaned per above
- 1 large white onion, cut in half then sliced into ½ circles
- 3½ cups white vinegar
- 3½ cups water
- 2 tsp salt
- 8 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 tsp chili flakes
- 4 tsp black peppercorns
- Prepare jars, lids and waterbath pot for canning.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, blanch fiddleheads for 3 minutes. Drain and cool with cold water.
- To make the brine, combine vinegar, water, salt and honey and bring to a boil.
- While the brine is heating, pack 4 500 ml (pint) jars with fiddleheads, and (in each jar) add 2 garlic cloves, ½ tsp chili flakes and 1 tsp peppercorns.
- Cover fiddleheads with brine, leaving ½ inch headspace. Process for 10 minutes before removing, cooling and wiping jars.
- Store out of direct sunlight and wait 2 weeks before eating the first one!