FREDERICTON (GNB) – New Brunswickers are reminded to properly wash and cook fresh fiddleheads.

“Fresh fiddleheads are a delicacy that has long been enjoyed by New Brunswick residents and visitors during the short fiddlehead season in late spring,” said acting chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell. “It is important that appropriate food safety measures are taken so that we can safely enjoy them.”

People are encouraged to follow these tips:

  • When washing fiddleheads, change your water several times to remove any residual husk or dirt.
  • Cook fiddleheads in boiling water for 15 minutes, or steam them for 10 to 12 minutes until tender, and then discard the water.
  • Cook fiddleheads before sautéing, frying, baking or using them in other foods such as mousses and soups.
  • Before freezing fiddleheads, clean them properly then boil them for two minutes and discard the cooking water. Plunge them into cold water, drain, and then put them in freezer containers or bags. Follow the complete cooking instructions before serving. Never refreeze thawed food.

Eating raw or undercooked fiddleheads can lead to illness. You may experience symptoms between 30 minutes and 12 hours after ingesting the fiddleheads. Symptoms, which may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and cramps, can last up to three days. People who experience any of these symptoms after eating undercooked fiddleheads should seek the advice of a health-care professional and contact their local health protection branch office.

There have been no reported cases of illness associated with eating fully cooked fiddleheads.