I am going to open this post with a tip of the hat and a thank-you to Thunder, who clued me in to the edibility of redbud flowers. The pretty flowers have a hint of sweetness and make a dramatic addition to a salad:
Today, I tried the young, green seed pods for the first time, stir frying them much as I would stir fry snow pea pods, which the redbud pods resemble somewhat:
The trees are fairly prolific, and there are enough of them so that I could gather a fair amount of pods without overharvesting. They have a nice, tangy flavor and are more "substantial" than snow pea pods- they are pleasantly chewy.
The fully developed seeds are also edible, the Native Americans used to roast and eat them. In a couple of weeks, I should be able to put them to culinary use. At any rate, the redbud is pretty much the giving tree described by Shel Silverstein- it is not only a beautiful element of the landscape, but it provides a diverse edible bounty for the entire spring.
Thanks, Thunder! Thanks, redbud!