Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Edible Beauty Of Spring: Redbud Dessert

The blooming of redbuds on trees across the Midwest is a sign of spring. Did you know you can eat these beautiful little flowers?

redbud dessert

Photo: Alycin Bektesh/WFIU

The redbuds are mostly a garnish for the yogurt, blueberry compote and meringue cookies.

Morel mushroom hunters see the blooming of the redbud trees as an indication that their coveted mushrooms are now in season. But these beautiful little pink flowers aren’t just nice to look at — you can also eat redbuds!

They’re a member of the legume family right along with beans and peas. They have little pods, and if you pick them when they’re young and tender, you can use them in stir fries.

This dish features redbuds with yogurt, berries and meringues. Along with preparing the meringues, try making your own yogurt.

We also provide a recipe for blueberry compote. A compote is basically a mixture of sugar and fruits that you cook down and season with spices. It’s an easy way to preserve any fruit.

Redbuds With Meringue Cookies And Local Berries

Ingredients

  • Meringue cookies (recipe follows)
  • Plain yogurt
  • Fresh berries (whatever is seasonal, we used blueberries and blackberries)
  • Local honey
  • Blueberry compote (recipe follows)
  • Redbud flowers (rinsed)

Cooking Directions

  1. Place meringues in the middle of a plate (make a few large flat ones as the base for your dessert). Top meringue with plain yogurt and some fresh berries.
  2. Drizzle with local honey and blueberry compote (you could also use blueberry jam or any other kind of berry sauce you like). Top with a little more yogurt and sprinkle the red bud flowers over the top.

Meringue Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • food coloring (optional)

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat egg whites until they hold soft peaks.
  3. Add sugar a bit at a time until the egg whites hold stiff peaks and the texture is no longer gritty (the sugar should be fully dissolved).
  4. Form meringues using spoons or a pastry bag and then bake for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, rotating the baking sheet halfway through to ensure even baking. Leave meringues in the oven to finish drying overnight and then store in an airtight container.

Blueberry Compote

Ingredients

  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, etc. – your favorites)
  • dash of lemon juice

Cooking Directions

  1. Combine ingredients and cook in a saucepan over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Stored in a jar, your compote will last 2-3 weeks in the fridge. The same method can be used with other berries or fruits.

Chef Daniel Orr

Chef Daniel Orr is the owner of FARMbloomington and the author of several cookbooks. He draws from a lifelong curiosity about individual ingredients combined with extensive training in the art of finding food’s true essence and flavor. The result is simple, yet sophisticated; the best of American food tempered by classic European training.

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  • guest

    Fresh local berries…when redbuds are in bloom? What berries are in season that early? Those blueberries must have been shipped in – they are a late summer fruit…

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