There seem to be new flowers blooming daily – we usually catch the first hint of scent wafting over to us during morning chores. With the hot, sticky weather we’ve been having, the fragrance may even hang over an area like a perfumed cloud, like it did with the black locust flowers. Anything that smells that great merits further investigation!
The black locust trees are unassuming: spindly, with rough-looking bark and crooked limbs, they’d be easily overlooked…except for this time of year, when thick white clusters of blooms drip from the tree branches, releasing their intoxicating fragrance.
The flowers of the black locust are apparently the only edible part, with a flavor described as floral and somewhat reminiscent of peas. These flowers are only around for about a 2 week period here in late spring. Their short appearance makes them even more precious.
I decided to make two items from the big bowl of blooms I collected: infused syrup and infused oil – something tasty and something fragrant. It was an experience collecting the blooms because the bugs love them and all kinds of strange and interesting creatures were in (and on) the flowers: spiders – including a striking rosy specimen – ants, beetles, tiny aphids, and others. This project is not for the arachnophobe or anyone else unsettled by hidden (or not so hidden) creatures.
For this one, I basically used the same method as for the violet-infused syrup: I removed the black locust blossoms from the stems, poured hot sugar water over them, and let them infuse for 24 hours. After the infusing period elapsed, I strained out the spent blooms and refrigerated the syrup. The flavor? Slightly floral, with honeyed green melon notes. This should add a unique twist to cocktails!
After filling a pint jar with blossoms (again, removed from stems), I filled it with virgin olive oil. Shaken daily, the oil will sit on a windowsill in the sun for about a month, after which the flowers will be strained out. I’m planning to use this for body care products, like salve and facial oil. Thank you, black locust trees, for sharing your bounty!
Have you eaten or otherwise used black locust flowers? Tell us about it in the comments!