Getting into a veggie rut? It’s easy this time of year, when the pickings for local food are still pretty slim. Asparagus and spinach are tasty, but they can get old after a few weeks. Try some fiddleheads instead! Or swap out your standard spinach for a New Zealand variety. We dug up 6 of the most unusual, and healthiest, vegetables you’ve never heard of—so eat up!
If you love weird-looking vegetables, you’ll love fiddleheads, the tender young coiled forms of fern fronds that unfurl as a fern matures. Similar to asparagus in taste, the curlicued greens have a nutty, slightly bitter flavor and can be used just as you would asparagus or asparagus tips. Most fiddlehead aficionados recommend eating them the day you buy them, as their flavor diminishes quickly. Their short, fleeting season lasts for just a few weeks in early May, so grab them while you can! (Note: Buy your fiddleheads from a reputable market grower. If you plan to harvest your own, do some research first, as some fiddleheads may be toxic and improper harvesting may kill the plant.) For cooking ideas, the University of Maine has some suggestions.
Photo: Mitch Mandel