PRE:  Trees you can eat
  Jun 02, 2006 09:43 PDT 

In the backwoods of WV many people fry locust blossoms and eat them as a
local delicacy. I haven't had a chance to try them yet but one of the local
festivals has a vendor just selling fried locust blossoms...have you ever heard
of eating them?

PRE:  Trees you can eat   Robert Leverett
  Jun 02, 2006 10:24 PDT 


   No, I haven't, but I'd like to give it a try. There's plenty of black
locust blossoms around.

   Hey, this could open up a whole new area of ENTS chatter -trees you
can eat, or at least some part. We could list all the edible parts by
species and come up with our own recipes. We have the usual fruit and
nut bearing trees. They are the givens, but then there are delicacies(?)
like the inside bark of white pines that is supposed to be edible.
Native Americans were supposed to have used the bark to create a
noodle-like food. Have you ever heard of that? I wonder if that gave
rise to the name Adirondack, which means bark-eater, I think.

Trees you can eat   Pamela Briggs
  Jun 02, 2006 11:40 PDT 

Dear Bob and ENTS --

Mmmmm . . . trees . . .

There are many teas (properly, "herbal infusions") which can be made
from barks and flowers. I'll leave it to the expert wildcrafters to
elaborate on those. Root beer can have sassafras and cherry tree barks
in it. Then there's birch beer.

I have here a bottle of Southern Swirl Sparkling Peach Lemonade Soda.
Good stuff (the bottle is empty). One of the ingredients is glycerol
ester of wood rosin. It's from pine trees and is a stabilizer for
flavoring oils in various fruit-flavored drinks.

Wood-derived cellulose can be used as dietary fiber in bread, though I
remember reading that its use was outlawed commercially.

There's maple syrup, of course, and cinnamon (bark).

My favorite tree, linden (basswood), yields a white honey which some
consider the finest of all honeys. It's flavored so strongly that it's
often sold mixed with a sweeter honey. The fruit can be ground to make
a chocolatey-tasting treat. There's also linden flower tea (aka "lime
blossom" if you want to get European). (The linden info is all through
my research -- I haven't tasted these myself yet.)

Then there are the woods which impart flavor to foods as they are
grilled, or alcohol as it matures.

I love the tree-eating topic! I'm eager to hear about more delicious

RE: Trees you can eat   Robert Leverett
  Jun 02, 2006 12:32 PDT 


   Years ago, while living in northern Virginia, I read about something
called Indian tea made from the berries of staghorn sumac. I brewed sone
and gave it a try. Wasn't half bad (Is that equivalent to being only
half good?). My son Rob brews a mean sassafras tea and tea from hemlock
needles is okay, but I wouldn't tout my recipe. Maybe someone has a
better one. Out of curiosity, what got you turned onto the linden tree?
You'd go nuts over the ones that grow in the Porcupine Mountains in the
UP of Michigan.   
Re: Invasive Plants (Coast to Coast)
  Jun 02, 2006 14:00 PDT 

What the Algonquin people ate was inner bark of slippery (red) elm. From
what I have learned it is easily digestible and almost a perfect food,
especially for babies with croup and invalids. Pioneers in this part of the world
used it as food during rough times. Raw and fresh off the tree it is bland but

Stripping bark from slippery elm is still a regular income producing
activity in many areas of Appalachia. Because Dutch elm disease has eliminated so
much elm from the region it is not quite as profitable as it used to be but
the stuff is still worth over a dollar a pound.

There is a lot of effort underway to find places where red elm can be
commercially grown for its inner bark where Dutch elm is not rampant...some
research is being done to try out red elm plantations in the northwest...oh
yeah...if you strip off the bark it kills the the research is trying for
coppice growth rather than continuous replanting.

Re: Trees you can eat
  Jun 02, 2006 17:25 PDT 

In one of my old Boy Scout handbooks there was a recipe for sumac lemonade.
If you pick the stag horn sumac blossoms when they are red and soak them in
a gallon of water like you would for sun tea you end up with a pink lemonade
that needs just a little sugar to be a very refreshing kids in
Shelburne drank a lot of that stuff in the days before our parents broke down
and started buying Kool-aid.

Re: Trees you can eat   Edward Frank
  Jun 02, 2006 19:10 PDT 


I have serious doubts about eating anything that doesn't look like a
hamburger and french fries and taste like them too- and definitely not that
tofu crud. Look at the wonderful things stalking wild asparegus did for
Euell Gibbons- He died of a heart attack - probably a result of
cardiovascular disease. (Just like running did for Jim Fixx).

I must admit a certain taste for cinnamon - althought what we usually get
isn't the real stuff, and I do eat maple syrup on my waffles - it probably
isn't real either.

Ed Frank
RE: Trees you can eat
  Jun 02, 2006 21:35 PDT 


Ed's just a party pooper... although I do side with him on tofu, they
ought to outlaw that stuff.

I personally love the taste of staghorn sumac seeds when ripe. They're
kind of like eating hairy grape nuts that taste like orange juice.

Young Tilia americana leaves are quite succulent and tasty. When they
get older, they lose their flavor and texture.

Re: Trees you can eat   Don Bertolette
  Jun 03, 2006 19:24 PDT 

Serendipity comes to mind...I was doing a search on spruce bark beetle about
ten years ago when I was up in Alaska, and one of the first page of hits was
a spruce beer recipe...definitely got sidetracked!
Re Staghorn Sumac, my samplings have me recalling a weak lemonade (this was
in Kentucky)...I can only imagine the infusion from black birch (in Kentucky
they called it sweet birch as I recall), as whenever they occured on the
boundary lines (DBNF), blazing them was the days' most pleasant task...same
with Sasafrass (sp?)!
RE: Trees you can eat   Lee Frelich
  Jun 03, 2006 23:18 PDT 


Once when I was a graduate student on a 7 week wilderness trip, we ran out
of food 10 days before the end of the trip. A book we had suggested inner
bark of yellow birch as a source of food. However, we opted instead for
thimbleberries and wild leeks, and we also had 1 slice of bread per day per
person, although a red squirrel took my slice of bread and ran into the
forest with it on the last day. I figured I was there to study trees rather
than eat them. The thimbleberry and wild leek diet turned out to be an
ideal way to loose weight. You expend more energy picking a thimbleberry
than you get by eating it.

We each saved $2.00 to stop at McDonald's when the trip was over (are you
old enough to remember when you could get get a burger, fries and shake for
$2.00?), and arrived back at the University of Wisconsin in Madison without
a single penny left.

Re: Invasive Plants (Coast to Coast)   Don Bertolette
  Jun 04, 2006 00:30 PDT 

If out west, you'll not want to try Cascara Buckthorn infusions, unless
you're ummm, impacted! It has another common name (Chittembark) and various
websites will declare the following property (It actively promotes
peristalsis of the intestines) do go wary into the world of herbal
Re: Trees you can eat and other plants   Holly Post
  Jun 06, 2006 11:09 PDT 

I have eaten Tiger Lilies and other close varieties.
You can actually eat the whole plant. I have eaten
the petal raw and sauted the stems and buds. I did
not eat the root but heard you can. The parts I ate
were delicious.
RE: Trees you can eat   Pamela Briggs
  Jun 08, 2006 19:16 PDT 

Dear Russ --

I'd take your sumac lemonade over Kool-Aid any day!

Dear Ed Frank --

Yeah, poor Euell Gibbons. After all those months of eating twigs and
bark, he was probably so desperate for flavor that he snuck off and ate
brimming bowls of buttered cheese. I know I would.

"Ever eat a pine tree? Many parts are edible." According to the movie
Minority Report, in the year 2054 we *will* be eating pine for breakfast
instead of Grape-Nuts.

Here's the scene:

[ANDERTON tips the box up and eats some cereal. The animated jingle
begins playing on the box. He taps it on the table a couple of times to
stop it, to no avail.]

THE JINGLE [maniacal squealing and laughter throughout]:

Pine and oats -- now we have them
Pine and oats -- love to taste them
Pine and oats
A good breakfast that sticks to you
It's good for you
Pine and oats -- roly-poly
Pine and oats -- pour a bowly
Pine and oats -- how we love to --

[ANDERTON throws the box across the room.]

You can see the animation at

RE: Trees you can eat   Pamela Briggs
  Jun 08, 2006 19:20 PDT 

Dear Dale --

I didn't know that Tilia americana leaves were palatable! How young
(what size) are the tasty ones?

After I get your answer, the next sound you hear will be me inserting
dialogue about linden leaf-eating into my novel. Thank you.

RE: Trees you can eat
  Jun 10, 2006 14:58 PDT 

Yesterday I picked a couple of pints of shadblow serviceberry for the family to munch. They are seedy, but tasty. I had to compete with a few cedar wax wings, robins, and squirrels, but I got enough to call it dessert.

Re: Trees you can eat
  Jun 10, 2006 16:46 PDT 

When I was in forestry school our dendrology professor referred to
serviceberry as having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich flavored taste. I kind of
think it is a combination of sweet and seedy with a pasty, gritty texture.

In central West Virginia the red mulberry trees berries are ripening and it
looks like a very large everything seems to be doing this year.
The berries tend to be over an inch long and are about half an inch thick and
sweeter than any blackberry or raspberry you'll ever taste.

Russ Richardson
Re: Trees you can eat
  Jun 10, 2006 16:59 PDT 

I described the flavor of the shadblow as somewhere between a grape and a blueberry. I think they are tastier than the other service berries. Although the birds disagree with me. They clean off the other two species I have planted before they even touch the shadblow. Another edible fruit is the Kousa dogwood. Not native, but edible. Not terribly tasty though. I have a field manual from the army on survival that lists many edible plants, and the poisonous ones too.

RE: Trees you can eat   Steve Galehouse
  Jun 11, 2006 18:36 PDT 
I think there are few trees that can compare to a really good American
Persimmon, both in flavor and the generally fecund appearance of a tree in
fruit. Unfortunately, they are dioecious, and the fruit quality varies from
tree to tree. The best local tree I know of is in the parking lot of an
orthopedic clinic, of all places.

Steve Galehouse
RE: Trees you can eat
   Jun 14, 2006 20:52 PDT 


The young leaves of Am. Basswood are best before the leaves fully
spread. Once they're max size, the good taste decreases as time goes

RE: Trees you can eat
  Jun 14, 2006 21:20 PDT 

Not a bad idea, Bob.

Dandelions aren't weeds... well, at least they're weeds you can eat. So
is all that chicory and plantain that many of us don't like in our
lawns. Problem is that my wife doesn't particular agree though. My
argument to leave the lawn uncut for two weeks at a time continue to
fall on deaf ears.


-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Leverett 
Sent: Monday, June 05, 2006 8:02 AM
Subject: RE: Trees you can eat

Hey Dale,

   Wanna come over to Mass. We can graze the dandelions in my yard. Good 
when young.