The redbud is blooming, a little late compared to last year. I planted this redbud too close to the deck. Newbie gardener’s mistake. I forgot to calculate how big the tree would eventually get. That’s why every year it gets a haircut, so people can sit out on the deck without its leaves getting in the way.
The trimmings get thrown away along with other garden wastes, to the curbside for the city to collect and compost. This time, though, I brought them into the kitchen. After confirming with several publications, including this excellent online guide, I decided that the redbud blooms should be garnish for this salad,
as well as these pancakes.
I think they add a wonderful visual interest to the dishes, even if they don’t add much flavor. They don’t have a lot of taste, those redbud flowers. A slight sweetness, that’s all I can discern. The fully opened flowers are sweeter than the closed up buds.
The redbud pods, looking so much like pea pods, are also said to be edible. I’m sure I’ll be trying them too, when they are ready. They haven’t started forming yet at the moment.
Plants For A Future made a note that the Redbud plants (Cercis canadensis) are reported to contain saponins. Saponins can be found in many vegetables, including peas, peanuts, and many beans. Red wine also contains saponins. Saponins are toxic to fish and livestock animals. According to a study conducted by Cornell University, humans generally do not suffer severe poisoning from saponins. However, since I wasn’t 100% satisfied with my own research, I decided to use the redbud blossoms mainly as garnish. I did eat a few of them, and I haven’t had any adverse reactions so far (about 4 hours now). I’m not a scientist or a doctor, so please do your own study before consuming anything you’re unsure of.