Food in the Backcountry – Big Leaf Maples

Most people know big leaf maples best for their helicopter seeds and large leaves but they also have beautiful off-white edible flowers that are a delicious addition to your spring diet.090426bn-300x270 Food in the Backcountry - Big Leaf Maples

The flowers are best harvested when the trees leaves are just beginning to open up. The longer you wait to harvest the flowers the less tender and more fibrous the flowers become.

To harvest them you want to break them off at the base of the green stem. And to eat them you can simply just take a bite – stem and all. They are also great mixed into a 090426bn-300x270 Food in the Backcountry - Big Leaf Maplessalad or fry them up for a delicious treat.

Even though maple syrup comes from maple trees, big leaf maples are not commonly used for this. It’s taste is more earthy than traditional maple syrup. The maple syrup you put on your pancakes, assuming it is real, is most likely from sugar maples.

Wild Foods & Medicine has a great article on identification, preparing the flowers, and tapping the trees for syrup.

So, take some time and add these great little flowers to your salad or make it fun and fry them up with the kids for a delicious afternoon treat!