Pikopiko

~ Wild pikopiko ~

This is my favorite thing to forage & gather in the native forest. Hiding under the beautiful fern leaves you'll find the baby fronds unfurling, and if you can beat the goats & deer to them, you'll find yourself a fresh treat similar to asparagus.

Pikopiko simply means young fern shoots. However beware, most ferns are toxic (with carconogenic properties), so you want to be sure that you're only gathering from edible ferns. I stick to the 'Hen & Chicken' fern which is easy to identify & I'm confident is edible. Hen & chicken is the common name of Asplenium bulbiferum.

Interestingly the word 'asplenium is from the Greek a ‘without’ and splene ‘spleen' & a variety found in the northern hemisphere was once believed to be a cure for diseases of the spleen. Whilst 'bulbiferum' simply means bearing bulbs.

I usually gather a handful whilst bushwalking and take home & cook like asparagus. That is either blanch or boil then smother in oil or butter & garlic, salt & pepper. Pictured a friend and I steamed it then added it to scrambled eggs. I've also pickled it before & have a stunning looking jar of pickled pikopiko.