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Old 02-01-2010, 09:13 PM
kva47 kva47 is offline
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Default Are sword ferns edible?



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I was walking around in the woods the other day and I got to wondering whether or not one can live off of sword ferns? They're probably the most abundant plant life in the woods around here (pacific northwest) and it would be great to know if they're safe to swallow. Anyone read/tried/heard about eating sword ferns?
Old 02-01-2010, 10:59 PM
Fletcher Christian Fletcher Christian is offline
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Look up fiddleheads. That is if what you are referring to is what I think it is. Rumor is that ferns and fiddleheads have carcinogens in them though. It'll keep you alive, but might kill you ten years down the road?
Old 02-01-2010, 11:11 PM
Nutjob Transplant Nutjob Transplant is offline
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i believe only the new fronds or sprouts are edible. the ones that pop up and have all that slimely gunk on them, wipe the slime off and then boil them, then empty the water to get rid of some toxins and the bitter taste and boil them again.

i suggest buying the book The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants it will help you get started and keep you alive by stopping you from eating bad poisoned plants
Old 02-02-2010, 11:23 AM
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sword fern fiddle heads are not edible. they will give u cramps at the least.
but the roots u can apparently peel and cook like a potato (i have not tested this myself so try at your own risk)
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:49 PM
kva47 kva47 is offline
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Thanks, guys! Good to know this stuff.
Old 02-18-2010, 01:08 PM
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Sword ferns do not have edible fiddle heads. However, one species, Nephrolepis cordifoli, has a marble-like water storage container that is edilbe raw.
Old 08-09-2011, 12:19 AM
marcwhite29 marcwhite29 is offline
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I did some research on this and found that native americans used the rhizomes as survival food, but have found nothing positive on the edibility on the fiddle heads. I read about the rhizomes in "Plants of The Pacific Northwest Coast," By Pojar and Mackinnon. Which by the way I've found to be an excellent field guide for our area.
Old 08-09-2011, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcwhite29 View Post
I did some research on this and found that native americans used the rhizomes as survival food, but have found nothing positive on the edibility on the fiddle heads. I read about the rhizomes in "Plants of The Pacific Northwest Coast," By Pojar and Mackinnon. Which by the way I've found to be an excellent field guide for our area.
.

Sigh.... this is how people die.... You did some research... what does that mean? Surfing the internet? Which sword fern rhizome did the natives eat? What genus? What species? There are 19 species of sword ferns (Nephrolepis) in the world, according to a world expert I contacted in person. I haven't read of any having edible rhizomes. Two species do have edible swollen stolons. They do no have edible rhizomes.

However, I suspect you mean the Holly Fern, sometimes called the Western Sword Fern, which is a totally different genus and species, Polystichum, specifically Polysticum munitum. Natives roasted the rhizome. But be careful. Polystichum filix-mas is toxic, and Polystichum aleuticum is endangered.

Saying sword ferns have edible rhizomes can get one killed. One needs to be more specific.
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:37 AM
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This is a different genus than what you ar referring to:

http://www.youtube.com/user/EatTheWe.../0/8e0CtNta_2Q
Old 09-06-2011, 09:29 PM
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I have eaten Polystichum munitum rhizomes on a few occasions. They are pithy and starchy and don't taste too bad. They are an excellent survival food IMHO.
Old 09-25-2011, 06:49 PM
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Being that I am from the Northeast, the only fern (Fiddleheads) that have the lowest carcinogens in my vicinity is the Ostrich Fern, unless you ingest them 24/7 no serious side effects have happened to me. eat them in moderation, you should be all clear..
Old 09-26-2011, 02:21 AM
VTmike VTmike is offline
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I found some good info on fiddleheads here
http://umaine.edu/publications/4198e/
I actually have some that grow in my yard. I just have to be on the ball at harvest time - pretty short window between when they pop out of the ground and open up into ferns.
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