Bracken Fern - Admire Or Eat? Collection, Preparation, Recipes. Photo

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Bracken Fern - Admire Or Eat? Collection, Preparation, Recipes. Photo
Bracken Fern - Admire Or Eat? Collection, Preparation, Recipes. Photo

Video: Bracken Fern - Admire Or Eat? Collection, Preparation, Recipes. Photo

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Video: Bracken Fiddleheads. You Can Eat These When Prepared Properly 2023, January

May in the Far East is not only the beginning of the sowing / planting season, but also the appearance on local markets of the first popular wild plants - wild garlic and fern. Collectors of these taiga gifts go to the forest, equipped with slightly less equipment than those who go to the zone of chemical pollution. In the taiga, ticks feast at this time. Some of them are encephalitic, so nobody wants to tempt fate. And fern and wild garlic, just the opposite - you want. Because it is as much an integral part of everyday life as honeysuckle and blueberries in summer, and fish, mushrooms, lingonberries, lemongrass and cranberries in autumn. I will tell you about the edible fern, which is available in most of the country, but is used mainly in the Asian part, in this article.

Bracken fern - admire or eat?
Bracken fern - admire or eat?


  • Bracken fern - description of the plant
  • What to take from him?
  • How to prepare a fern?
  • How and with what to eat fern?

Bracken fern - description of the plant

Common bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) is one of the most widespread ferns in Russia. Despite the active harvesting and export to China and Japan, we have a lot of ferns. And, as usual, if there is a fern on sale in supermarkets, it is ours, but it is packed in China.

Bracken grows everywhere. It is easier to list where it does not grow - in the tundra, desert and steppe. In general, if there is a forest, even burned or felled, it is very likely that bracken fern is present there. It grows strongly, even aggressively, especially in those places where there is no habit of harvesting and eating it. Although in some regions (for example, Komi and Sakha) it is listed in the Red Book.

And how handsome! Meter openwork leaves (fronds) are good both singly and in an array. By the way, it does not grow as a bush - single fronds depart from the rhizome.

They have long stalks and tend to take a horizontal position. The rhizome is powerful, dark, consists of horizontal and vertical parts. A piece of rhizome with frond leaves can be separated and planted where it will be convenient to come in spring for fern shoots. This is a good option, because the real "secret" reproduction of ferns by spores may not be particularly difficult, but it is not common among gardeners.

You can, of course, plant a fern on the site as an ornamental vegetable plant, if space permits.

In mature fern leaves, the spores are located in a "border" around the leaf on the back side. If you need a large plantation, you can attend to the reproduction of spores, with the cultivation of sprouts, and then real plants.

The leaf petiole is round, juicy. On the cut of the petiole, the vascular bundles are arranged in such a way that a pattern similar to an eagle is seen, hence the name. This, of course, depends on fantasy and associations, but the name is already there.

Common bracken (Pteridium aquilinum)
Common bracken (Pteridium aquilinum)

What to take from him?

The most common "bribe" from bracken is rachis - young, not yet unfolded leaves with petioles. They are broken off at the very ground. From a botanical point of view, the name is not entirely correct, but it stuck.

Rachis should be no more than 20-25 cm and break off with a crunch. Young shoots are not necessarily green - they can be dark green, brownish, purple, and even striped. They are just varieties and the taste is the same.

It is not unfolded leaves that are eaten. They are rich in protein, vitamins, carotene, organic acids, flavonoids, trace elements. Fern also contains the substance ecdysterone, which has a stimulating effect, lowers blood cholesterol, inhibits (inhibits) the growth of sarcoma cells and some cancerous tumors.

The use of ferns has a beneficial effect on growth processes, on the state of mucous membranes, improves the state of the endocrine system, increases muscle performance, and promotes the removal of radionuclides. It also has a low calorie content.

You cannot eat raw fern shoots - they contain the carcinogen ptaquiloside and the enzyme thiaminase that destroys vitamin B1. Blanching in salt water or soaking in salt water is a must-have before cooking to remove ptaquiloside. Thiaminase is destroyed by heat treatment.

If the leaves have time to unfold, you can collect and use the unfolded ones. Just don't eat anymore, but find another use for them:

  • the leaves of the plant have a specific (does not mean - nasty) smell, due to which they have a repellent (deterrent) effect on bedbugs, flies, cockroaches, spiders;
  • infusion of leaves has an insecticidal effect on spider mites, aphids and thrips;
  • leaves prevent rotting - you can wrap meat, fish or vegetables in them - they are stored longer, you can put vegetables in storage with leaves;
  • can be added to the litter of livestock, this improves the mineral content of manure and suppresses putrefaction;
  • the antimicrobial properties of the leaves allow them to be used as a wound healing agent.

If the fern plantation is overgrown and interferes, you can dig up roots, they are very starchy. They are used to make flour and add to bread baking. There is a lot of fiber in flour, it is rough. Infusion of fern rhizomes is used as an anthelmintic agent.

In some places, where the bracken behaves very aggressively, it is not bad to pull / dig it out, dry it and burn it. The ash will contain a lot of potassium carbonate and garden plants, except for those who love acidic soil, will be very grateful for feeding such ash.

A couple of centuries ago, potash was obtained from the ash of the leaves, the same potassium carbonate. And they used it, in particular, in cooking, for example, when baking gingerbread. Currently, potassium carbonate is registered as a food additive E501. It is produced now, of course, differently and in large volumes. Potassium carbonate has a wide application - from the production of liquid soap and pigments to the production of refractory glass and the absorption of hydrogen sulfide in gas cleaning.

Collected rachises
Collected rachises

How to prepare a fern?

Freshly harvested fern rachis should be processed like mushrooms as soon as possible. By the way, they have a mushroom flavor.

The most common option for harvesting a fern for long-term storage is salting.

There are many ways, I salted like this:

  • Fern - 3 kg.
  • Salt - 750 g.

Pour some salt into a large enamel pot on the bottom, put a layer of fern 2-3 centimeters, sprinkle with salt generously. And so repeat until you run out of fern and salt. The top layer of salt is the thickest. Press down on top with a large flat plate, put oppression and remove from eyes in a cool place for 3 weeks.

Next stage:

  • Fern - how many turned out;
  • Water - 1 liter;
  • Salt - 350 g.

After three weeks, remove and drain the resulting liquid. Rachises will become dark olive pliable. Pull the rachises out of the pan, arrange them tightly in sterile jars. Dissolve salt in water, pour this brine over the fern, seal. Store in a cool place. Until next season is no problem.

You can freeze it, it's easier and faster:

  • Fern - 1 kg;
  • Water - 4 l;
  • Salt - 100 g.

Boil water, dissolve salt. Put chopped fern into boiling water in portions of 0.2 kg, cook after boiling for 3 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon, put in a colander.

When cool and dry, place in containers and freeze.

You can dry it too. Unlike other products, boiled fern is dried, otherwise the rachis will turn stiff when dried. The principle of cooking is the same as for freezing, only it is better not to cut it.

You can dry it by spreading it out in the sun, nothing will happen to him. After drying, put only the petioles for storage, the rest must be shaken off from them. Store like dried mushrooms - fern is also hygroscopic.

Fern salad
Fern salad

How and with what to eat fern?

Salted fern is washed and soaked before cooking for 12 hours with water changes every 4 hours. Then the hard ends are cut off and you can cook.

The dried fern is soaked overnight, then the water is drained, the stems are dried.

Frozen - defrosting.

Then everything is simple.

Fern salad:

  • 200 g fern, cut into 3 cm pieces;
  • 50 g onions, cut into half rings;
  • 1 tbsp. l. vegetable refined oil;
  • 1 tbsp. l. soy sauce.

Heat the oil, lightly fry the onion, add the fern, fry for another 5 minutes. Pour in the soy sauce, mix well, heat over low heat for 5 minutes.

The basis is universal. You can eat it like this, you can mix it with Korean carrots or with a boiled egg, with any meat products, mushrooms, squid.

Pork fern:

  • 0.5 kg of pork;
  • 0.8 kg fern;
  • 2 onions;
  • vegetable oil for frying;
  • 50 g soy sauce;
  • pepper - to taste;
  • 1 tbsp. l. water.

Cut the pork into strips, the onion into half rings, the fern into pieces. Heat oil in a frying pan, fry the onion slightly, add pork and fry until the meat is tender. Put the fern to the meat, pepper, add soy sauce, water, reduce heat to a minimum and simmer under the lid for about 10 minutes. Very tasty!

Fern also makes delicious caviar with mushrooms:

  • 0.3 kg fern;
  • 1 large carrot;
  • 1 onion;
  • 0.2 kg of champignons;
  • vegetable oil for frying;
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Cut the fern into pieces, the onion in half rings, grate the carrots, the mushrooms into slices. Heat the oil in a frying pan, fry the carrots with onions and mushrooms for about 15 minutes, add fern, salt, pepper, fry for another 10 minutes. Cool.

Pass through a meat grinder (not so good with a blender). Mix everything and warm it up in a pan with vegetable oil. You can store it in a jar and use it as a "spread".

Here is such a universal bracken fern - to plant on the site, and then suffer in the spring: either eat it, or admire it.

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