Tuesday, April 10, 2012

foraging 2012: maple blossom beignets

that's right! The big leaf maples are in bloom (a month earlier than last year - further proof that this spring is definitely warmer and nicer than last year)! Monday night we visited a couple of pedestrian bridges over a ravine where the big leaf maples grow, so that we could harvest the flowers. The blossoms are at the top of the trees, some 50-80 feet above ground, so this was the only way I could think of to get at the blooms.

We gathered a small basket of them and I called our foodie friend to "come play!" in the kitchen with us. We threw together a pot of sorrel vichyssoise (a creamy potato-based soup, with lemony sorrel from our garden) so we'd have some real dinner, and got to work. Recipes for traditional native American fried squash blossoms abound, but we found that mix a bit too thin. We ended up making a lot more batter than we needed, as we figured out the proportions. If you'd like to try this, here's the mix:

whisk together 1 egg yolk with 1/4 tsp baking soda until smooth. Add 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1.5 c. flour and 1/3 c. sugar (or use a bit more maple syrup and a bit more flour).

Heat a few inches of oil in a deep saute pan. Dip maple blossoms into the batter. It's quite thick, so you need to use your hands to kind of pick up the batter and pull some of it over the top of the blossom (the goal is not to break the blossoms off the stems). Once you have it coated, ease it into hot oil, and use tongs to turn it every 30 seconds or so, until golden.

Set on paper towels to drain and sprinkle with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar or drizzle with maple syrup.



KB {Tragic and Lovely} said...

Oooooh, so yummy-looking. I'd love to make them!

Chris Troutner said...

I've got a tree at work full of blossums. I'm going to try these this weekend!

Chris Troutner said...

How did you feel after eating the blossoms? Were there any side effects?

I know the sap is edible and I've heard you can shell maple seeds as well. I've just never seen maple blossoms mentioned as edible in any literature. It makes sense that they would be though.

fleur_delicious said...

Hi, Chris - give them a go! Here is a link to local forager and author of a book on foraging, Langdon Cook. The link is to his recipe for maple blossom pesto:


My husband and I actually first had maple blossoms at a swanky restaurant up in Woodinville called The Herbfarm. So, between these two sources (and the fact that we had a maple blossom pizza after the beignets) and the fact taht we're not dead, I think they're just fine.

Now, I don't know if it is only big leaf maples that work. Just in case, here's a link to the wikipedia page on big leaf maples to help with identification:


one final note: I have noticed that introducing new or unfamiliar vegetables into one's diet can cause a little discomfort sometimes. I did not have any problems with the blossoms, nor did my husband, but it is something to keep in mind, particularly if you are just starting to eat wild foods. I also rinsed our blossoms and then patted them dry before using them, as an added precaution.

If you try it, let me know how it goes!

fleur_delicious said...

correction - by "that work," I meant, "I don't know if it is only the big leaf maple blossoms that are edible."

Now is the time to try a stinging nettle pasta or soup, too (take care when harvesting, and be sure to blanch the leaves before using them, but they are really very tasty!)

Jenny said...

Maple blossoms are tempting me right now, and I plan on putting them in waffles! I am now motivated extra by those lovely photos. Thanks for sharing!

Chris Troutner said...

I tried your recipe and it turned out great! Very tasty! I put up the details on my blog post: Frittered Maple Flowers.

Thanks again for the recipe! It was a nice treat.

Abigail said...

Uhm... these look amazing. I'm planning on trying apple fritters soon, maybe this batter will work for those?

Also, I am now addicted to artichokes thanks to you :).