Maple Tree Seeds: Great Survival Food

Maple Tree SeedWhen we were children one of the fond memories many of us share was playing with the maple tree “helicopters”. These helicopters were also known as “whirlees” or keys. No matter what you remember them as, they are actually called samaras. Maple seeds earned their name as being helicopters because they are amazing auto-rotating helicopters. They begin rotating almost from the precise moment they are released from the tree. Even poorly-shaped seeds rotate with ease.

Maple tree seeds are edible, contain protein, and can be used as survival food in winter months, however like many wild edibles the best flavours are enjoyed in spring. As the year progresses they tend to gain a hint of bitterness and by the time winter rolls in, what is left is shriveled and somewhat bitter; but make no mistake, they are still edible.  (I have not been able to get confirmation, however, all edible seeds contain essential fatty acids, therefore it is assumed that these seeds have some levels of Omega-3, 6 and 9.)

To eat maple tree seeds you need to remove the wings. Some people will eat the seed pod as a trail snack however, many people like to roast or boil them.
Maple tree seeds are similar to acorns; the taste can vary from tree-to-tree so trying some from several trees is an option.  Better still, the ones that taste bitter, use these for cooking because adding spices can sure make them taste great.

Ok, so now you know they’re edible here are a few ideas to get you on your way to enjoying this culinary delight.

How to Eat Maple Tree Seeds

If you feel eating maple seeds raw just doesn’t do it for your taste buds then boil them for about 15 minutes or until soft. Drain and season with whatever you think you will enjoy (butter and spices).

Toss spring maple seeds into a salad.

Roast maple tree seeds and eat them as a snack or toss onto a salad or as a garnish on soup. You can roast them by placing the seeds on a baking sheet and sprinkle with spices you like. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Try drying out the seeds for something totally different. You can use a food dehydrator, drying in the sun on a hot, dry day, or in the oven at a very low temperature. Once they are dried grind them into powder and use them as a spice, as flour, or as a soup thickener.

If you want mashed potatoes like you’ve never had them before, mash your potatoes and add some fresh or roasted maple seeds into the mash!

This year give maple seeds a try, they’re free for the taking and in many areas in abundance!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 at 2:30 am and is filed under Edible Landscape, Survival, Wild Edible Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

12 Responses to “Maple Tree Seeds: Great Survival Food”

  1. Ken Peterson Says:

    Incredible information!!!! Thanks so much for all you do – you are totally amazing!!!

  2. Sharon deRyck Says:

    Karen what an incredible informative article/blog. I will view the wonderful Maple and its tree seeds with much admiration and gratitude from now on. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and knowledge so generously.

  3. Chris Calentine Says:

    You can also eat the young leaves. They are rather tasty when tempura battered and deep fried. My wife is Korean and they are an older but traditionally used food.

  4. Laura Says:

    On page 172 in Paul Pitchford’s Healing with Whole Foods it states that maple seeds are a source of Gamma-Linolenic Acid or GLA fatty acid.

  5. Laura Says:

    Also, thank you for this site! Excellent.

  6. A persone Says:

    Awesome Information. Thanks!!!

  7. charlotte Says:

    what about leaves in the fall?

  8. charlotte Says:

    what about the leaves?

  9. Karen Says:

    Young maple leaves are edible in small quantities!

  10. Karen Says:

    Spring and early summer only from what I have been able to determine.

  11. idnaze Says:

    Merci pour cette excellente info .

  12. Karen Says:

    De rien!

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