Yesterday while walking with my son, I noticed that almost everywhere we went there were silver maple (Acer Saccharinum) seeds blowing about and littering the ground. I knew it was about time to try a new dish.
I Have always loved throwing maple seeds and watching them spin like helicopters, but didn’t know until this winter that they are edible. Based on my reading and a few personal taste tests, it seems that they can vary in flavor considerably, and that the younger the seeds the less astringent tannins they tend to contain.
We went to a friend’s house for super last night. He has several relatively small open grown silver maples in his back yard. I had tried one raw a couple weeks back, and it was fairly good. I tried another one last night and it was barely edible raw. Anyway, I gathered a small bag on the helicopters to take home.
Today I shelled all of the seeds as I played with my son. He enjoyed it immensely, and I found it to be a pleasant task, a little time consuming, but not hard at all.
I boiled them in three changes of water to get rid of the astringency and added butter and salt.
They were pretty good by themselves, somewhat similar to soybeans, and made an excellent addition to the spaghetti sauce that we were also having for supper. I will definitely be harvesting more silver maple seeds and trying some of the other species of maples.
* My photos and text are meant to inspire you and help you learn to recognize new plants (and occasionally mushrooms and other woodland creatures), but they are not meant to be used to identify these species by themselves. I try to always reference where I get my information, but for more recommendations check out my “resources” page.