• Edible Foraged Flowers: Red Buds

    by  • April 25, 2011 • Local Food • 9 Comments

    edible redbud tree just before blossom

    The magenta pink flowerlets of the Red Bud Cercis canadensis tree are popping out everywhere these days. You can find the trees in parks (like this specimen at Franklin Park conservatory), in naturalized areas, and maybe even your own yard.

    Did you know that they are edible? The buds taste best just before the petals open and can be consumed with the flowers slightly open as in these pictures.

    edible red bud flowers

    The bright pink buds can be picked and eaten out of hand, tossed into salad, or baked into eggs or pancakes. They are tender to the bite with a slightly sweet, slightly tangy flavor. While I have not tried this myself, I believe red buds would flavor and color vinegar beautifully.

    edible red bud flowers in hand

    Whenever you are foraging edibles, I recommend the following:

    • ask for permission if there is an obvious owner to the tree
    • in a park or natural space, leave enough behind for other foragers
    • leave enough material for the tree to produce seeds and feed bees and other insects
    • wash the edibles or inspect carefully as many creatures may have crawled on your food

    Go forth and eat Red Buds!

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    I live to eat and eat to live, planning every meal to include as much local and seasonal abundance as possible. I often wear purple and never refuse a drink.


    9 Responses to Edible Foraged Flowers: Red Buds

    1. April 25, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      Dang, I wish I’d known the flowers were edible a month ago! Here in the desert, the blossoms on our redbud tree are long gone. Hopefully I’ll remember next year!

      • April 25, 2011 at 10:02 pm

        And where I just was (Massachusetts) there were no trees in bloom at all yet! I do hope you’ll get a chance to try them next year.

      • Nancy McDonaal
        March 12, 2013 at 5:36 pm

        The immature seedpods are also edible cook like snowpeas

        • March 12, 2013 at 6:35 pm

          Good to know, Nancy! I’m planting some trees soon.

    2. Liesel Seryak
      April 25, 2011 at 9:34 pm

      Can you briefly describe how I might go about making the vinegar? I haven’t ever done flavored vinegars or oils of my own, but have long wanted to try it. My parents have a large beautiful red bud tree blooming right now in their front yard.

      Have loved these trees for years, but never knew the blooms were edible – thanks for sharing!

    3. April 26, 2011 at 7:28 am

      My parents had a honeysuckle bush growing up and man I loved that thing. They hated it but the flowers were so so good!

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