It’s springtime and the redbud trees are in bloom here in southern Indiana. On today’s podcast, we’ll pick some of the edible flowers from the redbud trees and create a sweet treat with yogurt and berries.
Redbuds: A Sign Of Spring
Morel 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. A lot of people don’t know that you can actually eat the flowers from the redbud trees.
The flowers have the same chemicals in them as red wine. So, when you hear about all the beneficial flavonoids and all the different great antioxidants that red wine has, redbuds have them too!
Redbuds are actually a member of the legume family, along with beans and peas. You’ll see the redbuds have these pea pods, and if you pick them when they’re really young, they’ll be tender and you can use them just like you would snow peas in a stir fry.
Our recipe today is a simple dessert that features redbud flowers, yogurt, and berries.
To get started, we spoke with someone who knows all about making high-quality yogurt, Peter Kunz from Traderspoint Creamery.
Traderspoint Creamery: Famous For Yogurt
Famous for their their yogurt, Traderspoint has been voted “America’s Best” in 2005 and 2006 by the American Cheese Society.
They have a wide variety of yogurt flavors, including banana mango, wild berry, vanilla, plain, and an orchard trio with peach, pear, and cherry.
At Traderspoint, they pride themselves on the unique taste of their products – something that starts with what their cows are eating. Peter Kunz:
It’s that concept of terroir, where the actual flavorings come from the grasses on the farm. The real deal is the quality of the product that comes into the creamery. You can’t mess with a product that begins with good quality. You just build on it.
And if you’re the adventurous type, you could even try making your own yogurt. Our resident expert, Amy Jeanroy, has a step-by-step “how-to”.
A Simple Redbud Dessert
Let’s get to the kitchen now for our redbud and yogurt dessert.
- Meringue cookies (recipe follows)
- Plain yogurt (if you’re feeling adventurous, you can make your own)
- Fresh berries (whatever is seasonal, we used blueberries and blackberries)
- Local honey
- Blueberry compote (recipe follows)
- Redbud flowers (rinsed)
- 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
- 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 redbud flowers over the top.
- 3 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup superfine sugar
- food coloring (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In an electric mixer, beat egg whites until they hold soft peaks.
- 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).
- 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.
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 fruit.
- 2 cups blueberries
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, etc. – your favorites)
- dash of lemon juice
Combine ingredients and cook in a saucepan over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. 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.