Around here in eastern PA where I live, Redbuds are a common landscaping tree. I know the flowers and very young pods are edible, but I'm curious to see if anyone has a good way to consume the mature seed pods, once the hulls turn dry and brown and the seeds harden.
I've seen people say that this is a food best consumed in season, but I would really like to be able to store the seeds throughout the winter as more of a staple food source. The trees around here produce tremendous amounts of seed pods, and they hang onto the tree throughout winter, have little to no problems with pests, and are easy to separate from the hulls.
I tried toasting them in a dry frying pan, but they were still fairly chewy. Then I ground them up into a flour, mixed it with some water, and tried to fry it, but that was a complete failure. I will continue to experiment, perhaps trying to cook them like lentils, but if anyone has any proven methods, please let me know. Thanks!
Some years back I was looking for this information... I never found any historical information as to the edibility of the mature seeds, or pods. On the other hand, I also did not find anything saying that the seeds are poisonous. At that time, I only found one instance of one random person on the internet cooking these as if they were lentils. I do not remember the forum, but this person posted this one subject, not to be heard from again...
Hmmm. Could have been poisoned, could have been someone "pulling the leg" of those "idiots" (like me) who eat wild plants.
I have used the green pods in the same way as snow peas. Use before the "string" (like on green beans) is thick and hardened. Note, they do not taste like snowpeas. They have a nifty citrus taste. It's good stir fried with onions, garlic and peppers, with bitter wilted greens, served over rice.
I have dehydrated the green pods at this stage, and used them in soups. I've also pulverized the dehydrated green pods into a flour-ish consistency, replacing 1/4 of the wheat flour in bread recopies. We liked it.
posted 6 months ago
Thanks for your input, Joylynn! I plan to try soaking them overnight and then cooking them like lentils; I'll follow up when I do and let you all know how it goes
I have never heard of anyone eating mature redbud seeds either. I checked PFAF and they only list them as having potentially toxic saponins and note that saponins are generally dealt with by cooking (as in with beans). So, eating these is not likely to kill you. But they might not sit well with you either, particularly if you don’t cook them as you would dry beans. Since PFAF mentions that the seeds have saponins like beans, I would not eat them unless they were cooked like dry beans: soak them over night, discard the soaking water, and then cook as you would beans. Since you are volunteering as a lab rat, please report on the results of this experiment! 😸