Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Front Yard Salad Bar

Pictured here is the basswood (aka linden) tree located in our front yard. They feature a smooth silver colored bark when young, and parallel vertical grooves when they mature. They tend to grow in clusters, as you can see many smaller trees are growing around the base of the smaller tree. There is actually a second cluster of trees, one my wife and I have come to call 'the monstrosity', to the other side of the one pictured. The main tree was either cut down or died some time before we moved here, and what was originally a small cluster of thin branches have now grown into a ring of 15' tall trees. Thanks to a book on foraging Kathy showed me I learned that the young leaves are edible!
Not only are they edible, but are mild and pleasant tasting. The buds come out and create an offshoot branch, a spill of leaves shooting out with it. These are quick to collect and almost quick to process. The leaves on the smaller, younger trees grow large much more quickly. I expect several more weeks of staggered growth before the leaves have grown too large and tough to eat. I plan to see how well these store by blanching them like you would normal greens. Results to follow!

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