Spring in Amarillo, Texas conspicuously offers two edible spring blossoms: Dandelions and Redbud Tree blossoms. My Panhandle great grandmother recalls welcoming the bitter taste of dandelion greens as a early spring relief from bland winter foods.
Blossoms add flavor, color, and nutrients to your favorite soups, salads, or tempura. Pick dandelion and redbud blossoms and immediately throw into a dish. Dandelions’ bitter taste increases each hour and day after they are picked. Dandelion greens and flowers are best fresh. Redbud branches can be pruned off of the tree and kept in a vase of water; sometimes the green leaves continue to grow.
Tempura is an egg and flour batter commonly used in Japan. For people avoiding gluten, corn flour makes tasty tempura. Chopped up blossoms mixed into batter can coat other vegetables. Also use less water in the tempura batter and fry up blossom fritters.
Soups soak up the flavor and freshness of blossoms. Softly cook blossoms to keep delicate flavors and nutrients. Root vegetables, bones, and meat need high temperatures and time to stew. For blossoms allow soup to cool off to 140-120 F. 140 F is comparable to a super hot almost drinkable/not drinkable coffee temperature. Stir blossoms in and allow the soup to warm them for a 1-5 minutes.
Dandelion greens can be added into soups the same way. Dandelion greens and both blossoms can brighten stir fry dishes and salads.
Nutritious content of dandelions may vary on where they grow. See the 15th paragraph of http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Dandelion.html
Nutritious content of Redbud flowers and seeds see ‘edible’ at http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cercis_canadensis .
Wildfoods have more macro and micro nutrients than cultivated foods. Be aware of where you forage because some people may spray or fertilize their yard and trees.
Dandelion blossoms also flavor wine. See Sandor Katz recipe from Wild Fermintation http://www.imbibemagazine.com/Dandelion-Wine . People make dandelion mead by substituting sugar with honey.
Summer through winter dandelion roots can be pulled to make a slightly sweet and rejuvenating drink. Pour boiling water over root (include attached leaves, optional). To extract the most flavor use a glass or clay bottle or jar with a lid. Wrap the vessel in a blanket to insulate the steeping process for a few hours. Unlike black or mint tea this concoction doesn’t become bitter with extended steeping.
Neighborhood lawns hold food! Dandelions offer a steady and sometimes abundant supply of themselves because they propagate easily by wind blown seeds. Redbuds need more attention to propagate. http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/propa/msg0318384430483.html