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.
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.
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!