Even a young Big Leaf can be glorious, especially in spring;
|Acer macrophyllum. Flowers, and the unfolding new leaves.|
The dangling racemes of flowers can be up to 6 inches long. The leaves may grow well over a foot across, big enough to serve as a sunshade, or even a makeshift umbrella in a sudden summer squall.
I didn't know this: the sap can be used to make maple syrup. It takes about 34 litres of sap to produce 1 litre of syrup.
The flowers can also be eaten in salads, in soups, or in pancakes or fritters. Dad used to make fritters with elderberry flowers every spring; now I must try them with Big Leaf maple flowers.
Wild Foods and Medicines has a good recipe.
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt and herbs or spices of choice
2 eggs beaten
¼ cup milk (cow, rice, almond, or even water if you do not have milk)
¼ cup oil for frying (sunflower, sesame, safflower, and coconut are favorites)
In a bowl, mix flour with salt and herbs or spices. In another bowl, whisk eggs with milk. Turn a medium sized sauté pan on medium-high heat and add oil. Once the oil is heated, dip maple flower clusters in the egg mixture first, then dust them with the flour mixture, and place them in the pan. Place 4-5 in the pan at a time. When the fritters are golden brown, flip them and let them brown on the other side. Let them drain on paper towels. Serve hot.
Go to the big leaf page for variations and more ideas.
A Skywatch post.