Fiddleheads are harvested for a short time in the Spring on the heels of Maple Sugaring season. They're the first fresh vegetables we eat each year and they sure are delicious! Fiddleheads are a bright green fern with a brown paper like overcoat. They're found near water in shady areas. The woodlawn ferns (away from the water) will often make you ill. University of Maine Online Publication Fiddleheads are the young coiled fern leaves (about an inch in diameter) of the ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Nearly all ferns have fiddleheads, but those of the ostrich fern are unlike any other... Fiddleheads as they first begin to pop out of the ground. If they are out of the ground far enough to get a finger around the fiddlehead to snap it off, they're ready to pick! A freshly picked fiddlehead. The fiddleheads are still good to eat as long as they still have some of their brown coat still on. Too far goneall green, they've completely shed their brown coat. Notice the brown coat on the fiddleheads? These need to go away! To clean the fiddleheads I put them in a wire basket and head to the stream. And let the tumbling action caused by the stream do the work...not quite clean. Clean and ready to cook. Sauteed up with butter and garlic...yummy!