Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Wild & Wonderful

It was time again for the Locust Blossom Fritters. This is a closeup of the flowers. To make fritters, pick a sack of clean blossoms. Soak for a few minutes to half an hour in salt water to remove (most) bugs. The blossoms are on stalks and I strip them off the stalks into a bowl, then add some egg and oat flour (because oats are sweeter) then drop by spoonfuls onto a greased griddle and brown. I go ahead and fry up a big ole mess as I think they are good leftover cold or warmed over too.

The only problem with finding locust blossoms to eat is finding them low enough to pick. Once the tree is out of the bush stage, the flowers are way out of reach. I know where these new trees/bushes are and make a stop there when I first see flowers on the tall trees at our place. Isn't the profusion of blossoms magnificent? The smell is sweeeeeet too, almost cloying.

So, as with all wild food, it is a matter of always keeping your eyes open and marking in your mind where things are and where the next ones will be coming on. For example, when we first bought this piece of land, the piece beside of us had just been logged which meant for the next five years or so it was the most magnificent blackberry field ever. Now almost no blackberries grow there because it has grown back up in trees. Blackberries are reclaiming plants, or edge of habitat plants, and that is true of a lot of medicinal plants too. Another reason why letting everything grow up to climax forest is a b-a-d idea. Anyway, we are always scoping out where the blackberry fields might be coming on. Has a new highway been built? Where are they logging this year? They'll be blackberries there soon.

These were on the side of the road near where my stash of locusts grow. And their blooming is why we call the current cool snap "blackberry winter".

I also finally got a photo of a Cucumber Magnolia tree blossom. Most of them are gone by now, turned to making the cucumber looking seed pod (longish, otherwise I don't see where it is much cucumber-like). But I found this one in a cool spot in a deep hollow beside a running stream. Still, it was too high up on the tree to photograph so I wrestled it within my grasp to get this photo. My hand gives you a sense of scale as to how BIG those leaves are.

The tulip poplars are just thinking about blooming. They will be high too so we'll see how I do capturing a photo of them.

This poppy growing beside the road is just for fun.


Redneck Nerdboy! said...

That looks so interesting! Thank you for sharing the recipe for that.

madcapmum said...

Do they have a sweet taste as well as a sweet smell? I'm wondering now what kind of local flowers I could treat like this.

Mia said...

This post reminds me to look for the wonder that can be in our own backyard. I may not have anything that would jump out to be as stunning as the blossoms pictured, but all of the wilds around us have their own magnificence. Thanks for the reminder!

the Contrary Goddess said...

Alright! A post someone GOT! Yes, the wonder in our own back yards! Yes, local FOOD, and wild too. It is fun. If you haven't, check out my link to Harold for some good wild eating.

Now, the locust is basically like a perennial woody pea or bean, legume. Ok, don't actually quote me on that but the tree does make beans. I don't know if they are edible, or how. The scent stays with it through cooking so your head fills up with it when eating. It doesn't actually taste sweet though, not like honeysuckle. It tastes most like fried summer squash, but I'm betting that's a regional thing too.

Now, I should share kilt lettuce with you all!

e4 said...

Yes, keep them coming! I love stuff like this. This is the kind of knowledge that doesn't get passed on much any more. Why would we need to when you can just grab a Snickers bar in the checkout line? There's probably a whole meal worth of food in my back yard (not counting the garden of course), but I wouldn't know where to find it.

javaseeker said...

Locust blossom fritters...mmm, sounds good, very good. Never heard of it. Isn't it amazing how many edible tasty bits there are in the wild most everyone knows nothing about?

wvquiltmaker said...

the locust are in full bloom here and the scent is magnificent! i thought i would dip the whole flower stem in a thin batter and deep fry, never thought of taking the flowers off the stem.

we must ba having our blackberry winter as they are in full bloom also, and it is 50* and my husband just shut all the windows and turned on the heat!