Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Herb Thursdays

The redbud tree is not really an herb, but it is edible and medicinal. These are gorgeous trees and will be blooming in my woods real soon, usually near the dogwoods. So, I thought I would share some information about the eastern redbud tree.

A very nice article here about the redbud http://www.gpnc.org/redbud.htm

I found this delicious looking recipe

Redbud-Sage Muffins - These are SO good! Keep in mind, I grind my own wheat (hard red)....vs using store bought flour. We will be making them again tomorrow! Cant wait for the seed pods to come on the trees as I have a recip for those as well: Oriental Chicken Salad, calls for snow pea pods.

2 cups redbuds (yes, off the redbud trees that will be in bloom later this month. Make sure you only harvest them off of trees that are not exposed to ANY threat of chemical landscaping poisons...we live on a very primative 15 acres and my redbud trees are in the center of a dense woods)
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
� cup sugar (I used honey)
Minced zest of 1 lemon (2 to 3 teaspoons)
1 � cups unbleached or all-purpose flour (I used freshly milled hard red wheat; will use the same nextime, but will sift 1/2 of bran out)
2 teaspoons baking powder
� teaspoon baking soda
� teaspoon salt
1 large egg
(1 T of cornstarch will work if your out of eggs)
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice


Topping

1 tablespoon sugar
� teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 375�
In bowl #1, combine redbuds, sage, sugar, zest. Let sit 30 minutes.
In bowl #2 Sift flour, powder, baking soda, salt large bowl.
In bowl #3 Combine egg, yogurt, milk, oil, lemon juice.

Pour #1 into #2 and toss.
Add #3, stirring just dry ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix.
Fill your muffin tins 3/4 full.
Combine sugar cinnamon the topping sprinkle some each muffin (totally not needed if your using whole wheat flour).
Bake for 25 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly touched.
Remove form muffin pan and cool on a wire rack.

recipe found here http://familycow.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=bread&action=display&thread=10056

and this information was in my newsletter from All About Thyme

The redbud trees (Cercis canadensis) are in bloom this week around the margins of our little woodland here in in Texas, their purple flowers like a cloud of color, brightening the darker oaks and elms around them. Green leaves will replace the flowers in another week or two, and by the end of summer the tree will be hung with purple-brown fruits, pods four inches long, flat and leathery. These lovely trees are worth growing for their stunning beauty, at a time of year when most other trees are still thinking about putting out their first leaves. But loveliness is only one of the many virtues of this little North American native.

The Medicinal Redbud
Dried and powdered, the inner bark of the redbud was an important medicine. Indian healers used it to staunch bleeding, ease skin irritations and poison ivy rash, and treat sores and tumors. Bark tea was drunk to treat diarrhea and dysentery and used (like quinine) to reduce malarial fevers and ease joint and muscle pain and headaches. The flowers were steeped as a tea and drunk to prevent scurvy, treat kidney and bladder infections, and ease urinary ailments.

The Edible Redbud
The buds can be pickled: Cover with a pickling brine of 1 quart cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, 6 cloves, 1 2" cinnamon stick, and � teaspoon each allspice and celery seed; ready in about 2 weeks. Toss the flowers in salads to add color and a sprightly tartness. Saut� the buds, flowers, and tender young pods for 10 minutes in butter and serve as a vegetable. Native Americans roasted the pods in ashes before eating the seeds.

The Pliable Redbud
The supple young sprouts, peeled and stripped, can be used in the construction of baskets. Some tribes used the white inner bark or the red outer bark as decorative elements in very sophisticated work. The bark was also used as cordage and coarse twine, and the roots were used in sewing animal skins.

Redbud and Dogwood, Bernheim forest. Kentucky, USA

photo from here

A little information about the redbud from Missouri conservation

and from here

Eastern redbud starts flowering when it is 4 to 6

years old. The flowers bloom in early spring before leafout.

Flowers are often found on the trunk.

The bark of eastern redbud is brownish black and

scaly. On older trees, the orangish inner bark can often be

seen. Bark becomes fissured as the tree ages.

Folk healers used the bark of eastern redbud to treat

diarrhea and leukemia. Native Americans used the wood

of a similar species,

C. occidentalis, the western redbud, to

make bows.

Redbud has been called the Judas tree because Judas

Iscariot, after betraying Christ, was said to have hanged

himself on Cercis siliquastrum, a close relative of eastern

redbud that grows in Europe and western Asia. The blooms

of the tree, originally white, were said to have turned pink

with shame or blood.

In Mexico, the flowers of redbud are fried and

eaten. John Lawson wrote of redbud flowers being used in

salads in his History of North Carolina, published in 1708.

Redbud is the state tree of Oklahoma.

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