Forage Friday 3.. Redbud

Hello Friends!Tonight’s feature image is titled “Redbud 33019”. All of the photos are my original work and are available as prints by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

One of the true joys of an Appalachian Spring is the blooming of the redbud. In fact one of minor reasons why I chose the property that I live on now is the presence of reddish pink pops of happiness in late March to mid April. After a long gray winter the colorful redbud is a very welcome sight for sore eyes.

A closer look at the redbud flowers

Redbud is often planted as an ornamental shrub because of its early and colorful pea like flowers. And, it is a nitrogen fixing legume that is often used for reclaiming strip mines and helping to heal the soil.

Of course, this is Forage Friday and that means that redbud is also a wild edible. I have only used it as a “trail nibble” by picking a few raw flower buds here and there and popping a few in my mouth. However, I do think that it would be an interesting thing to add to a salad. I’ve been watching the bloom spread up the mountain and I think that I’ll try it as part of a salad soon. Being a legume I expect that redbud is rich in protein. I haven’t tried the pods yet either but Peterson’s Field Guide suggest a ten minute saute of the young tender pods which look somewhat like snow peas hanging below heart shaped leaves. (As always, make sure of positive ID. Before trying the first time. Trees like black locusts have similar pods and are considered toxic)

A word here on timing. The flower is only in its prime for a few weeks and once the pods reach a certain maturity they become leathery. I have also read that some people have canned the pods like green beans but it’s not something that I’m experienced with and as with this whole series I really recommend that you do further research before going out with a basket to try a new and exotic food from the forest.

Okay, don’t skip the disclaimer.

Forage Friday isn’t really intended to teach you everything you need to know about wild foraging. It was conceived as a way for me to showcase my photos while providing a few interesting tidbits of information to peak your interest and start a conversation in some of the forums that I share with on Facebook.

If you have eaten redbud flowers or pods of if you have a question about wild edible plants the comments are open to the public.

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Canadian Redbud

Today is Arbor Day! I’ve not really spoken much about my my educational background on my blog. My formal education is mostly in Forest biology. At one point my long term goal was to get into strip mine reclamation. Redbud is one of the trees that is used to recondition the soil. Redbud is a legume which means it has nitrogen fixing bacteria in it’s roots. While it seldom gets to be timber sized it can to be about 20 feet tall (6 meters). I used to have one in my backyard that was quite thick for a shrub. It was about 18 inches (45.72 cm) at the base. The beautiful pinkish purple bloom is actually edible and the pods are too when processed properly.

The best thing about Redbud is that it’s one of the trees that blooms early in the Spring. At the time I am writing this the photo is a couple of weeks old. After the long dark winter the burst of color from the Redbud is a breath of fresh air.