fresh and a little crunchy
Walking through Central Park on Wednesday (with 5 lbs of knotweed!) I saw an elm tree loaded with frilly clusters of samaras (seeds). I remembered reading something about their edibility in Sam Thayer's fabulous book The Forager's Harvest, but I couldn't remember exactly what.
Leda and I split the take, and Leda emailed later to say that she'd found the entry in Sam's book: the samaras of Siberian and slippery elms are indeed edible, both raw as salad crunchies, and dried, when the center seed can be eaten like a lentil.
American elm samaras are said to be hairy and not so tasty, but since most of our American elms have died (thanks, Dutch Elm disease!) and these samaras weren't the slightest bit hairy, we took the plunge and took a bite. The seeds were fresh tasting, light and airy, with a little bit of chewiness at the center. I can imagine them tossed (raw) with pasta and a little goat cheese.
The season is short, but I'll keep my eyes open over the week or two and let you know how that pasta recipe turns out!
P.S. Tomorrow (Sunday, 4/27) I'll be in Union Square Park all day for NYC Grows! I'll be demonstrating container planting techniques at the Fafard booth. Fafard makes a line of kick-ass potting mixes, and I realize you may never have heard of them but their products rock. And we're giving stuff away, so please stop by and say hello if you're in the neighborhood.