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Edible trees

We are used to the fact that the edible part of the tree is the fruit. We enjoy the benefits of fruit trees - pear, apple, plum. Meanwhile, common, native tree species can also be used in the kitchen. These trees have much more to offer us than fruits. Among other things, we can successfully use inflorescences, leaves, and even shoots and underbark in the kitchen. Below is a list of native tree species, the various parts of which can be used to prepare various dishes.

Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris)

Edible parts: winter buds, young shoots, male inflorescences, pollen, needles, cambium, green cones, seeds, seedlings, resin.

Example dishes: honey and cone jam, sugar with needles, syrup from young shoots, salt with needles and buds, marinated cones, chips from underbrush, saucissons from male inflorescences.

Norway spruce (Picea abies)

Edible parts: buds, young shoots, inflorescences, immature cones, cambium, resin.

Example dishes: Jam from shoots, jam from young cones, honey with shoots.

European larch (Larix decidua)

Edible parts: Needles, young branches, green cones, manna, cambium.

Example dishes: syrup of cones, tincture of resin.

Silver birch (Betula pendula)

Edible parts: juice, young leaves, bark, shavings, male inflorescences, cambium.

Example dishes: fried male inflorescences, male inflorescence pancakes, underbark chips, risotto with young leaves and female inflorescences, male inflorescences in chocolate.

European beech (Fagus sylvatica)

Edible parts: Seeds, sprouts, young leaves, sap, cambium.

Example dishes: vegan pecan pie, bukella (cream of pecan pie).

Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur)

Edible parts: acorns, leaves, bark.

Example dishes: acorn flour bread, acorn scones, acorn tiramisu.

Norway maple (Acer platanoides)

Edible parts: immature nosegays, seeds, sprouts, flowers, young and autumn leaves, sap.

Example dishes: pickled flowers, dolmades of salted leaves, mini meringue cakes with flowers, fried flowers.

Small-leaved lime (Tilia cordata)

Edible parts: flower buds, flowers, leaf buds, leaves, immature nuts, sprouts, sap, cambium.

Example dishes: Pickled flower buds, pickled unripe fruits (nosegays).

Common alder (Alnus glutinosa)

Edible parts: Male inflorescences, pollen, sap, cambium.

Example dishes: fried male inflorescences, male inflorescence cakes, male inflorescences in chocolate, and truffles with male inflorescences.

European white elm (Ulmus laevis)

Edible parts: young leaves, unripe fruit, pulp.

Example dishes: spring rolls with pickled leaves.

Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) 

Edible parts: leaves, unripe fruit, ripe fruit, manna, cambium.
Example dishes: bark tincture.

Common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)

Edible parts: young leaves, buds, flowers, fruits.
Example dishes: ketchup made from the fruit.

Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) 
Edible parts: fruits, flowers.
Example dishes: candied fruits in chocolate, fruit jam, fruit syrup.

Bird cherry (Prunus padus)

Edible parts: leaves, flowers, fruit.
Example dishes: jam, quasi-mech cake with fruit, tart with fruit.

Elder (Sambucus nigra)

Edible parts: flowers, fruits, leaves.
Example dishes: syrup made from the flowers or fruit, acetoma, pickled flower buds, soup made from the fruit.

Recipes for these and many other surprising dishes can be found in Małgorzata Kalemba-Drożdż's book, titled: Tasty Trees, published by Pascal.

We also encourage you to watch a short video about edible trees, which we recorded as part of the Our Food. Our Future.


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