I love learning about the plants and their uses in my area, so I try to identify as many as possible. Today was the redbud tree. I was so excited when I found out you could eat the blossoms. I mean, who doesn’t like to eat flowers? It’s like eating magic–my Facebook LIVE reaction to trying them for the first time is below:
Redbud Tree Uses
Basically, the bark, inner bark, roots, and blossoms were all used; though in all of the herbal books I have none of them mention the redbud tree. The inner bark has been used to treat cold and flu-like symptoms (fever, congestion, vomiting), while the outer bark has been used to offer relief of whooping cough and dysentery. I have a friend whose grandfather would make here a tea from the bark of the redbud tree (along with a few other ingredients) for her asthma. It was also used as a folk remedy for leukemia. So neat right?!
Bonus: it’s also food for bees and hummingbirds! They are also the host plant for Henry’s Elfin butterflies. I’ve noticed this tree growing along the highways in lightly forested areas. It wasn’t until this year when I realized that we had two right in our yard! I’ll have to take an adventure out back to see if there are any more in the woods.
Like I said, the blossoms have Vitamin C in them–I tried both the open blossoms and the closed blossom and didn’t notice much difference, but maybe that’s because I tried them both together…not sure. Some people say the closed blossoms have a more sour taste than the open blossoms. The redbud tree produces pods during the summer which are also edible when they are young so I’m excited to try that!
You can add the blossoms to pancakes, or as a garnish for salad and cakes. I think redbud blossoms would be just darling on a cake!
I’m infusing some redbud blossoms in apple cider vinegar to add to my water and tea. I took about a 1/4 cup of the blossoms and put them in a jar with about 1 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar. I covered the top of the jar with plastic wrap to protect the metal from the vinegar because the vinegar will start to eat the metal away…which FYI you don’t want. Let it sit for 2-6 weeks then use it!
Have you used redbuds before?