I’m a photographer, currently working on a photographic project documenting young bracken, the kind found on mountain sides throughout the lake district.
I showed a friend a number of the images I had taken from last year and she told me, when she lived on a farm in Ennerdale (Cumbria) in the 1980’s people would say that South Koreans would pick and tin young bracken from the Lake District. I thought this was quite an intriguing story – but unfortunately she does not know if it is true or not and I have not found anything on the internet about this, although I know young bracken is eaten across East Asia. I was wondering if anyone may know more about this story?
Hi Julia, I’ve just seen your enquiry about eating young bracken in the Lakes. I’m afraid I can’t tell you whether the story is true or not, but I was very interested to hear about it. As you say, fiddleheads, or young fern crosiers, are eaten in many parts of the world. Sometimes they are bracken and sometimes ostrich ferns. Bracken is meant to be carcinogenic, however. I’m currently researching a book on the cultural and social history of bracken, including in food and drink, and it has had a very important role to play in the Lake District. I would love to hear more about your project and see some of your photos if possible. I am currently in California researching the subject in the Huntington Library (and hence 8 hours behind UK time), but if you would like to get in touch and exchange bracken stories(!) my email is email@example.com
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The website of the British Pteridological Society
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