Four Ways to Eat Black Locust Blossoms (and One Way Not to Bother)

locust-flowers.jpg Black locust trees set me up for greed. It must’ve been deliberate – the first several trees I saw held their branches just out of reach, a few letting me grab one or two flowers as a tease, a few just mocking me from the tangled hill above the parking lot.

So when I found three trees near the ground, I was in the perfect frame of mind to heedlessly stuff two grocery bags full of flowers, not entirely realizing what I’d done until I got home. If you don’t count the parts where I was jumping off a windowsill trying to pull down a particularly flower-laden branch in a back alley, the picking went very quickly. After the flowers were washed and fluffed dry, the large bowl, the giant bowl, the stockpot, and the popcorn bowl were all overflowing. Ohshit.

Over the course of the weekend I’ve gotten it down to just the giant bowl. We’ve been grabbing handfuls of the flowers to nom as we walk through the dining room (for those of you keeping track, that is Way #1) and eating them in various ways for lunch and dinner; we also managed to offload quite a few at a potluck.

As far as I’m concerned, black locust blossoms are a functional equivalent to peas, and *not* the same thing as rose petals or lilacs. Though I am grateful to The Three Foragers for their timely black locust flower post, I don’t quite understand what drives them to make custard and jelly from their flowers. I was really happy with my savory and sweet-salad uses. Concepts (they are only “recipes” in the medieval use of the word) are below the jump; suggestions for ways to use up the remaining flowers are welcome.

Sesame Summer Rolls

We had some leftover chicken, some carrots that were about to go bad, store-bought egg roll wrappers, and the black locust blossoms. Oh, and the chive blossoms – the chives have been feeling super sexy lately and putting out tons of flowers. And a few dame’s rocket flowers, which I’d picked when I despaired of finding accessible black locust. Shredded the chicken, grated the carrot, and mixed it up with some tahini, soy sauce, and ginger.

Sadly, the camera was out of batteries, or I’d have a picture of how they looked just before wrapping. If I make these again I will wilt the flowers before adding them to the egg roll, so that they don’t leave such big air pockets after cooking, but that’s a minor tweak; the egg rolls still fried up really well.

Actually, if I make these again I will stick to dame’s rocket and money plant flowers. The black locust flowers were okay, but not really noticeable as anything other than vegetable filler underneath the tahini; the dame’s rocket flowers were amazing.

Black Locust Blossom, Chive Blossom, and Mint Salad

Ingredients: Black locust flowers, chive flowers, dressing. Separate the chive flowers (unless you prefer your onion-y flavor in heterogeneous nuggets).
Dressing: Mayonnaise, mint, lemon juice, sugar, a pinch of powdered ginger, a pinch of salt. Finely mince the mint and mix, or just buzz everything in a food processor. I’m not sure the ginger added anything important; onion powder might’ve been better, but I didn’t have any on hand.

We took this to a potluck picnic and it got excellent reviews.

Cream of Black Locust Blossom Soup

Cream of locust blossom soup
Sticking to the theory that black locust blossoms are just a funny kind of pea, I made more or less this summer pea soup with onions, mint, homemade chicken-and-scraps stock, and my shiny new immersion blender. It was tasty warm, and I imagine that it’ll also be tasty cold.

Don’t Bother: Dehydrated Black Locust Flowers

After the Mister lamented that the plain flowers ought to be crunchier, we decided to try them in the dehydrator. I tossed them with a little bit of oil, mint, and sugar and left them overnight. The results taste good but the texture is all wrong – the flowers are too small to sink your teeth into, so it just feels a little bit prickly and very unsatisfying.

For Tomorrow: Pasta with Black Locust Blossoms, Brown Butter, and Sage

Snap peas + brown butter + sage was a Flavor Bible recommended pairing that got into my brain while I was cooking the soup. You can’t go too far wrong with brown butter (unless it burns).


  1. Butter wrote:

    Thanks for this post. I figured out black locust last year, but only after the flowers started dropping. Given their strong scent, I’d likely have tried something sweet as well. But here’s the hitch – I dislike sweets, for the most part. I’m excited to think that a pea substitute is out there. Also, this will save me the trouble of growing peas, as I would probably be tempted to do, but then forget to water them and have pea guilt.

  2. Maria wrote:

    I think the locust blossom season is too short for it to be a proper garden pea substitute… but then again I love fresh peas more than almost anything so there’s not much that could get me to abandon them.

    Locust blossom/mint/chive salad is now well on its way to Sacred Tradition status for us. So tasty.

  3. wildcraft diva wrote:

    Love your blog :-)look forward to following your exploits.
    Can i link to this aswell?
    Will have to wait unti next year to try your salad :-( unless I can locate a few late flowers…

  4. Arlene wrote:

    Do you have a recipe for the Cream of Black Locust Bloom soup? thx Arlene

  5. Silviu wrote:

    The absolute best way to prepare black locust flowers, as I learned from my European grand-mother, is to make them into fritters. Just prepare a thin, sweet batter similar to what you would use for French crepes; dump the flowers in and mix well to coat; ladle portions of the (now thick) mixture into a frying pan with oil, preheated. Flip over after a minute or two. Stack them on a plate, sprinkle with vanilla sugar, and watch the kids make them disappear in the next five minutes leaving you sorry that you didn’t have more flowers but unfortunately you can’t get more until next year. :)

  6. Hugh Shearer wrote:

    I found people picking mine along the highway yesterday, and did not understand what they where doing, once he explained it, I invited him to my yard to get the easier to reach ones… When we saw my almost ACRE of these black locusts.. (to me they are weeds) he was excited, and picked like crazy, letting me know the things they make in CHINA from these.. glad to help..
    Guess my land is prime for growing Groves of this thing that pokes me like crazy!

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