Learn about this Steamed Fern Stems Recipe and how you can use this free wild food in a nutritious, delicious recipe.
The two species of ferns that I depend on for food are the common bracken fern (Pteridium Aquilinum) and cinnamon fern (Osmunda Cinnamona). So far as I know there are no poisonous ferns if the new shoots only are eaten.
Health food enthusiasts would probably rather steam ferns. To do this, pick, wash and strip a bunch of shoots (a good handful or two pounds). Tie the bunch together and place them stalk down in a large pan or double boiler. Add 1 1/2 inches of water and cover the pan and fern tips with another pan. Bring to a boil and hold for about ten minutes or until the stalks are tender. Remove, drain and keep the liquid. Slice the cooked ferns crossways with a sharp knife, place in a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup chopped hickory nuts, 1/3 cup of vegetable oil and the original liquid from cooking the ferns. Return to the fire warm up to a simmer and hold for five minutes. Pour over thin, whole grain, wheat bread toast.
Read more about finding wild edible foods: Foraging for Wild Edible Food.
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