Fiddlehead Ferns: Tried This Unique Himalayan Vegetable, Yet?

 Greens are considered to be nature’s best nutrition supplements. They come packed with vitamins, minerals and other vital components essential for a healthy living. Apart from spinach, mustard greens, and fenugreek, which are popular green vegetables in Indian cooking, there are some local and indigenous varieties too, that are loaded with health benefits but are not known widely in other parts of the country. Fiddlehead also known as lingaru and dhekia xaag is the best example of it. 

These tender and half-curled fronds are a widely consumed saag by the locals of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Assam that grows abundantly in the wild, mainly on the foothills of Himalayas. Grown along the river banks, they have a meaty texture and tangy flavour. A much-loved side dish is prepraed with it in the Assamese cuisine and a popular pickle ingredient in Himachal Pradesh. They are basically young shoots of the plant that look like tiny scrolls and only the tightly coiled tips of the ferns are eaten. 

Health Benefits of Fiddlehead Ferns 

According to WebMD, they contain a lot of vitamins and nutrients that is required to the body and are also low in calories, fat and cholesterol. These ferns can also become a good substitute of fish as they are high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Here are few health benefits of these ferns: 

  • As they are low in calories and rich in fibre, this indigenous veggie is helpful in weight loss. 
  • The abundance of vitamin C and other soluble fibre present in the fern helps the body to fight against infections and also develops resistance against infectious agents. 
  • Being high in potassium and manganese along with being low in sodium also makes it beneficial for people with low blood pressure and high blood sugar. 
  • There is also a high quantity of vitamin A present in them that helps in improving eye sight. 
  • Fiddleheads can also help the body in creating healthy red blood cells. 

There are many ways to cook them like the fiddlehead fry, salad and pasta. But making them into pickles in one of the most unique and delicious ways to eat them. Here is an easy recipe to make fiddlehead pickle, if you would like to try: 


  • 250 gm fiddlehead ferns 
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil 
  • 1.5 tsp salt 
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder 
  • 1 ½ tsp mustard seeds powder 
  • Turmeric powder as per taste


  • Peel-off the skin of the ferns with light hands and cut them into small pieces. 
  • Then blanch in boiling water with little turmeric powder.  
  • Once done, wash the pieces at least three times to remove the dirt. 
  • Then spread them to dry off.  
  • Once dried, add all the spices and mustard oil. 
  • Mix well and transfer the pickle in glass jar. 
  •  Keep it in sunlight till the mustard seeds powder gets fermented. 
  • Once the required sourness is achieved, serve with chapatti and enjoy.