Today my mother, child and I picked black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) blossoms together after happening upon one marvelous tree. We spotted one that was small and low growing, yet filled with many clusters of flowers. It was such a wonderful and intoxicating moment. The smell of black locust flowers always make me think of springs past. It's a scent that most know, even if they think they have never smelled it before.
Each year, my mother would harvest mulberries, sour cherries, mimosa flowers, sumac, and much more from such places. As a kid, I remember begrudgingly following my mother on these wacky missions. She didn't seem to mind or notice the people gawking at us or the countless people who stopped in curiosity to ask just what we were doing. Today, I will go to great lengths to eat out of earths many gardens and black locust is by far one of the most ethereal and magical foods we can indulge in. For me personally, the scent and taste when the flower is just opening reminds me of jasmine blossoms and green tea. When they are unopened or when the blossoms are a day or two old they taste like fresh sweet peas.
We typically eat the blossoms in salad, in warm oatmeal, in pasta, in a cream sauce with clams, mussels, or shrimp. We also make a mead infused with the fragrant flowers which is a gift beyond words. I also made an infused honey and an elixir of the flowers with brandy. This year I experimented with making a sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) and black locust flower ice cream. It had the grassy and vanilla flavor of the woodruff and the floral notes from the black locust. It was incredible. I also threw a handful of petals into my latest batch of ginger beer and I am excited to see how that fermentation turns out!
This is such a special time of year. I feel lucky to have access to abundant flower power. Lucky to taste the moving and cooling powers of the violet flowers and leaf. Lucky to smell the distinct and intoxicating lily of the valley growing dense and fiercely. Lucky to see the bright and cheerful dandelion blooms and the cool and mysterious flowers of dames rocket. And above all blessed to spend the day exploring the locust with my mother and child. I hope springs finds you all in full bloom.