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Saturday, April 21, 2012

EATING MAPLE TREE SEEDS

A group (panicle) of maple leaf seeds  in my yard. 
It is now the end of the season of my Silver Maples sending thousands of samaras to the ground. They spun like mini-helicopters filling my gutters as well as spaces outside my house. 


During this period, squirrels, from near and far, were in their glory as they bounded toward my yard. "Yippee," they'd screech  as they practically flew from branch to branch munching on every samara they can get their paws on. This food fest was carried out from morning till dusk during the season. 

I used to complain about the samaras filling my gutters. That is until I discovered that their food value was not only good for the wildlife but also humans. 

I started peeling off their "helicopter tissue" and discovered that each held one seed about the size of a small dried bean. I searched online for more information on these seeds expecting to find what wildlife benefited from them. This is when I found that the seeds are a valuable resource of protein and carbohydrates for humans.

So for the rest of my "helicopter" season I didn't complain about them -- I ate their seeds in my dishes. I now consider them a forager food. They were great in my quinwoa, salads and rice dishes. 

A link, How to Eat Maple Seeds, is on WikiHow. The link states that one can eat any kind of maple seeds.

28 comments:

  1. Ooh, if only we had some silver maples around. That is such a great thing to know.

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    1. Don't know if your maple are "shedding" seeds right now -- but it is fun to try this out. I think I read some place that silver maples have some of the larger seeds of the maples?

      Read the comment I left below Michelle's. It is thanking you for the info. I forgot to mention.

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  2. I take that back...apparently all maple seeds can be eaten, as I found out reading your link.

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  3. Didn't know that! I will have to try that myself. I also love quinoa.

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    1. As Barbara pointed out in her comment you can eat any type of maple seeds. Quinwoa is so delicious and I use mine with so many ingredients -- I buy it in bulk to save money. thanks -- barbara

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  4. Barbara, Thanks for bringing it to my attention that I did not include that any types of maple seeds can be eaten. I guess I was engrossed with my silver maples and no others. I did know that any could be eaten so it is great that you caught my remiss in not mentioning it. I did add that point to the last sentence of my post.
    Thanks again -- barbara

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  5. We had a huge maple in our yard in WI. Wish I had know I could have eaten the seedlings. They were everywhere! And just when they were gone, the Honey Locust released its cache. Here in the woods we don't have much trouble except when the maple seedlings drift on our deck. Then Lucy tries to eat them.

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  6. NCmountainwoman -- So Lucy tries to eat them. Perhaps she knows the seeds are healthy. My Lab that I had when I moved here used to eat those big fat cicadas. A neighbor said dogs love them and even some folks eat them. Dogs have strange tastes it seems. thanks -- barbara

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  7. Another great header! And what a beautiful picture of the samaras. We eat then inadvertently -- there were some in the collards I picked for dinner, Now, though, I'll try my hand at collecting them.

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    1. Vicki -- Collards and maple seeds sound like a nutritious salad. Thanks for the nice words about my header and samara photo. -- barbara

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  8. This is so great and interesting! I had no idea maple seeds were edible. The maples around here shed their seed in the autumn; I'll have to give them a try. I wonder what they taste like.

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    1. Rose -- My maple's seeds tasted a bit nutty. At least that is what my taster interpreted them to taste like. I was wondering if they could be dried -- next year I'll try this out. thanks for stopping Rose -- barbara

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  9. I never knew they were edible to humans.

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    1. Linda -- folks that forage probably knew this. I like to investigate nature's food bin for kicks. I was surprised at this source too. -- thanks for the comment -- barbara

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  10. I didn't know about the maple seeds. Mine are all brown now, but next year I'll give it a go! Thanks much, Barbara!

    Elora

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    1. Elora -- they are rather bitter when the "wings" get brown but I still have chewed some down during that stage. While they are green is the best. Perhaps your squirrels will have some competition next year. -- barbara

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  11. You have taught me something new - always a valuable thing.

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    1. Hope you have maples in Norway? They are beautiful trees. Thanks for the comment Rune -- barbara

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  12. Sounds great, Barbara, went to a writer's course recently where most of the food had be gleaned from field, forest and hedgerow and it was wonderful. Such a difference from the processed stuff.

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    1. Carole Ann -- Now that is a unique idea -- I imagine there was quite a diverse selection. I like to graze on wild plants or gleaned plants from the farm -- especially old abandoned orchards. I agree with you -- there certainly is a difference in quality and for the most part they are not loaded with chemicals. I am wondering how your gleaned food tied into the writers workshop? thanks for stopping by -- barbara.

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  13. Barbara,
    If you can fry them I would surely enjoy them....!

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    1. Grampy -- I was thinking that one could saute them in a bit of olive oil and salt. Didn't try it but I imagine they would be tasty. thanks -- barbara

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    2. I just toasted them with asian cooking spray and sea salt - yum!

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  14. I love being able to find food in nature. I don't have silver maples on my property, but I will be on the lookout for them elsewhere in the future.

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    1. Teresa -- according to wikihow one can eat any species of maple seeds not just silver maples. I too practice foraging when feasible. I noticed there are some good foraging books on Amazon. thanks -- barbara

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  15. OMG. My household is full of foragers and we have four huge maple trees in our yard. We woujld love to find a use for the samaras, because hundreds of thousands, if not millions, fill our driveway, yard, and gutters every spring. The enthusiasm of your Wikihow link is baffling, because we find the mature seeds--the ones that fall from the tree--tough and tasteless and the squirrels do not line the branches to harvest them when they are green. When presented in foods, cooked or uncooked, they get spit out. As for the immature ones--they adhere to the branches, not falling easily, three or four stories in the air where we are not going to go! Strange--it makes sense they they would be a food source, but we have not encountered any Indian way of preparing them either.

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    1. Diggitt -- Nice to know that you have questions about eating silver maple seeds. First, I only eat "silver" maple seeds. I do not eat older ones as they not palatable. Secondly, my squirrels spent hours every day in the spring eating the silver maple seeds. I had several in the front of my home (which is no longer my home since I wrote this post) where I sat and watched them eat away. I had no trouble finding fresh young seeds in the samaras that fell from the trees. The samaras fell by the thousands around my property. Beyond the fact that I did eat the young seeds and did see the squirrels doing the same plus reading about the seeds as food i don't know what to say. thanks -- barbara

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