EatEat aa TreeTree

Eastern redbuds are among the first trees to bloom in spring, giving wooded hillsides throughout Missouri a hot pink blush from March to late April. They can reach almost 50 feet tall, but most are much shorter, usually growing in shady spots under large trees. Bees and other insects feast on redbud nectar. Birds and squirrels dine on seeds from redbud pods. Deer browse the tree’s leaves. You can eat redbuds, too. First make sure the tree you’re about to eat is, in fact, a redbud. Then, pick a few hot pink flowers and give ’em a chomp. You’ll find they have a nutty, sweet taste, like sugar snap peas. I like to nibble the flowers right off the branch as I would corn on the cob. My friend mixes them with lettuce to brighten up a salad. Folks in Mexico eat fried redbud blossoms. If you want to try some, do it right away. Redbuds won’t stay blooming much longer. Once their heart-shaped leaves unfurl, their flowers will drop, and you’ll have to wait until next spring to sample this tree’s tasty treat.