Bigleaf Maple Flowers
The early flower buds (mid-March to April) have a crunchy, earthy, lightly green flavor. As the flowers open and mature later in the season , they acquire a subtle sweet and savory flavor.
The clusters of flower buds easily hold on to sauces, dressings and batters and make for a unique garnish. Try them fresh in an herbal salad or vegetable soup, pickled, fried into maple-syrup topped fritters or even tempura! The freshly harvested buds will store refrigerated for a couple of weeks, if you cool them soon after harvesting.
Pickled Bigleaf Flowers by Melanie Douville
Pickle these flowers as you would any other veggie. Add fresh or dried herbs, spices, and other produce to experiment!
Yield: 1 pint jar
Time Prep: 15 mins Cook: 5 mins
½ lbs of bigleaf maple flowers
3 sprigs of dill
1tsp black peppercorns
1tsp mustard seeds
Dash of red pepper flakes
2 cloves of garlic (smashed)
½ cup of vinegar
½ cup of water
½ tbsp salt or 1tsp pickling salt
½ tbsp sugar
Clean and dry the jar.
Rinse bigleaf maple flowers in water, removing outer sheath of bud leaves.
Add dill, peppercorns, mustard seeds, pepper flakes and garlic to jar.
Pack flowers into jar with ½ inch space from the rim. Compress flowers firmly but without crushing or smashing them.
Mix the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour the mixture into the jar, leaving ½ inch space from the rim (you may not use all the mixture).
Place a folded towel on the counter, and lightly tap jar against the towel to remove any trapped air bubbles.
Place the lid on the jar and screw ring on tight.
Let the jar
Bigleaf Flower Fritters/Tempura by Melanie Douville
This recipe is adapted from a tempura recipe by Langdon Cook posted April 29, 2012 on Fat of the Land.
Yield: 4 cups
Time Prep: 10 mins Cook: 20 mins
4 cups of bigleaf maple flowers
2 cups of flour
2 tsp of baking powder
2 tbsp of corn starch
2 cups of ice water
Bigleaf maple syrup
Tentsuyu dip, soy sauce, or sweet and sour sauce
1. Rinse bigleaf maple flowers in water, removing outer sheath of bud leaves
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and corn starch in a large bowl
3. Stir in ice water until the batter is smooth
4. Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil in a large saucepan on medium high until oil reaches 365 degrees Fahrenheit. If the oil gets too hot, remove from heat, or add in room temperature oil.
5. Dunk the flowers in batter, allowing excess to drip off. Carefully place them into the hot oil, Fry until lightly golden.
6. Remove flowers to a paper towel to remove excess oil
7. Serve immediately while hot
Dressing for Fritters
Serve hot with a drizzle of bigleaf maple syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar.
Dressing for Tempura
Serve hot with a Tentsuyu dip, soy sauce, or sweet and sour sauce.
Try reheating using an air-fryer for extra crispiness.
Pan-fried Sweet Rice Cakes by Joann Cottrell
The picture to the right is of a version of Hwajeon made by Joann Cottrell and shared on the Bigleaf Tapping in the Pacific Northwest Facebook group. She adapted the recipe from this one at Maangchi.com (links to external website).