Warabi – Fiddlehead Fern

I get so excited when I get to discover a new food, especially a local food, from the local farmers market, sold by a local Hawaiian. It really doesn’t get much better 🙂 But it does, cause this little green beauty is a powerhouse of nutrition.

I personally have never seen it in Australia, but would love to know if anyone has ?

Here is a recipe I found in yet another local magazine called ‘edible Hawaiian islands’


Warabi Salad


500g warabi (local fiddlehead ferns)

1 red onion thin julienne

6 spring onions finely chopped

1 small knob fresh ginger minced

1C shoyu

1/4 C sesame oil

1/4C rice vinegar

Chili to taste

2 tsp black sesame seeds

12 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved


Cut warabi on a thin bias. Pour 3 cups of very hot but not boiling water over warabi. Cover and let steep for 5 mins. Drain warabi and rinse with cold water. Combine drained warabi with remaining ingredients and toss well.

I have also combined it with my other veggies.



Here some information I found on a google site.

Fiddlehead’ is the young coiled fern frond with a distinguished look resembling a violin scroll. They are also known as ‘fiddlehead greens’ due to their bright green color. The unique shape of fiddleheads compliments the beauty of the plant.

Fiddlehead greens are known to be rich in iron and fibre despite of having antioxidant properties as well.

These plants are found in the northern regions of the world especially the eastern coast of United States and Canada.

Local names of the Fiddlehead Fern

Indonesians prepare a popular fiddlehead dish known as ‘gulai paku’. The fiddleheads belonging to the type known as bracken, is much preferred in East Asia and Japan. In these regions they call it ‘warabi’. It is also known as ‘juecai’ in China, Korea and Taiwan.

Fiddleheads are extremely popular in the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent. The green coiled fronds are termed ‘lingri’ in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The people of Darjeeling and Sikkim refer to it as ‘ ningro’.

Types of Fiddlehead Ferns

There are several types of fiddlehead ferns found in various regions of the world. Amongst them the Ostrich fiddlehead fern, Bracken, Cinnamon fern, Royal fern and Vegetable fern are some of the most popular ones. However it is the Ostrich fiddlehead fern that is universally used and considered safest to eat. The rest of the ferns are usually slightly toxic. Most of these ferns are native to northern regions worldwide especially the east coast of the United States and Canada.

Nutrient Composition and Nutritional Benefits of Fiddlehead Greens

Fiddlehead greens are composed of water, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, ash and fats. Water is present in maximum percentage like in all vegetables. The nutrient composition is summarized in the table below

  • Water – 87%
  • Crude Protein – 4.23%
  • Fibre – 1.12%
  • Ash – 4.02%
  • Carbohydrate – 3.06%
  • Fat – 0.5%

Apart from this, fiddleheads are known to contain seventeen (17) minerals. Potassium and calcium are the most dominant minerals found in fiddleheads.

Fiddleheads are rich in Vitamins A and C that are extremely important and good for health. Apart from this, these plants also contain minerals like magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, niacin and zinc. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are also present in it.

Fiddlehead ferns form an excellent low- sodium diet.

History and Origin of Fiddlehead Ferns

Centuries ago it was the French settlers who first recognized the fiddlehead vegetable as a rare delicacy. It is said that they acquired the idea from the American Indians. Canada is one such country that shares a long and similar history of harvesting fiddleheads. In fact Canadians were so attached to the plant that they even had fiddlehead themes for their lodges and boats.

Ever since the middle ages fiddlehead ferns were recognized as a conventional diet in countries like Asia, New Zealand, Australia and Native America.

Aloha Roslyn

Diary Day 27 Kauai Hawaii

Here is the link to the ‘edible’ Hawaiian Islands magazine


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