As increasing awareness of what we eat and where our food comes from becomes mainstream, we seek to grasp back that connection to our food sources. This connection had previously been evaporating in the wake of big brand grocery stores and, increasing lists of unpronounceable food additives showing up on food packaging.
While many people may not be in a practical position to start a hobby farm to feed themselves. Foraging for food is accessible to anyone. Foraging allows us to supplement our groceries with seasonal treats from nature, and reconnect with where our food comes from.
Many locals in Manitoba have childhood memories of picking Saskatoon berries, rhubarb, or wild strawberries with family members when they were growing up. What many Manitobians do not realize is that edibles in the Manitoba wilderness go far beyond the typical staples we tend to seek out.
Popular on the East Coast of Canada Fiddleheads are the beginnings of a growing Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia stuthiopteris). They are easy to identify as they look like the coiled head of violin, only bright green. Fiddleheads grow abundantly wild in Manitoba. The taste is a combination similar to that of asparagus and artichoke, with fresh earthy undertones.
Fiddleheads are in season in Manitoba from the middle of May to the first or second week of June depending on the weather. If you are looking to go out and bag yourself some Fiddleheads, Savour Winnipeg is offering Fantastic Forest Forage Experiences that will show you the ropes on finding these wild edible treats. If you are not interested in crawling around in the forest, you can pick up Fiddleheads at local Winnipeg markets, or try a Farmers Market in your area.
When you are ready to prepare your Fiddleheads stop by the Roblin Centre John and Bonnie Buhler Library and seek out the book From Pemmican to Poutine: A Journey through Canada’s Culinary History. This book featured in our Local Culinary Inspiration blog holds a section dedicated to the culinary use of Fiddleheads. As with any wild food be sure to review the Government of Canada Safety Tips for proper guidelines when preparing Fiddleheads. Happy foraging! Spring has sprung!