In the face of a very tight schedule over the next few days, I respond to the seasonal imperative of spring sprouts, and head out to Actons Corners to harvest fiddleheads. Fred checked the database and gave me instructions on how to locate a big patch of Ostrich Fern that he had spotted on 27 May 1993. As I drove a bit too far east while searching for the area he described, I saw a Bittern fly up from the ditch along Actons Corners Road, and heard Toads trilling, at 11:45. Creeping down onto the fern flats of the creek called Murphy's Drain, I walk among fountains of Ostrich Fern fronds in all stages of unfurling, rejoicing that I am not too late, and after taking some photos, settle down to picking contentedly, snapping one or two tender, green, orange-scaley knobs from each clenched fist of rhizomes, leaving the rest to grow up into feathery fronds.
At home, I tipped the bag into a pot of boiling water, and after it returned to a boil, waited for a few minutes as their green deepened, before dipping them out into a collander and then rinsing the chaffy brown scales off in a sink of cold water. Three ziplock bags of fiddleheads went into the freezer - except one bowlfull that I marinated with fresh lemon juice, a dash of Umeboshi plum brine, and olive oil, as a supper salad. Then I cooked up the more loosely curled fiddleheads for Fred and I to enjoy right away with butter, salt & pepper. As long as the frond is new and tender, it is good to eat!