Hey friends of the forest,
Dan de Lion here writing from Chimayo, NM, where I stumbled on a special snack that I wanted to share with you. Here’s a look at edible black locust flowers, Robinia pseudoacacia, which are sweet, fragrant, and tasty!
Note the compound (pinnate) leaves which are typical of the pea family; (fabacea). Different than most trees, they prefer full sunlight and dry soil, so often they can be found in disturbed areas, and edges of forest where there may have been some disturbance to the soil is where i would suggest to look for them.
The flowers grow large fragrant clusters and eventually your nose will lead you to them; they have the sweetest smell carried by the air. I remember when I finally realized that what I was smelling every year was indeed these blooms. They really only stick around for about a week and they taste like floral snap peas. The flavor is out of this world delicious.
It’s important to note that when I collected and dehydrated then they lost their floral flavor and scent, so I prefer to collect and eat them fresh. Many cultural dishes around the world batter and fry these flowers, including tempura style from Japanese cuisine.
The plant is also a nitrogen fixer, due to it symbiotic with nitrogen fixing bacteria on its roots, and it has been grown for fence posts. And it makes a durable hard wood which is very rot resistant.
The seeds can also be collected in fall and they can be soaked and boiled as a legume. The leaves and the bark are said to be poisonous.