Black Locust Foraging and Cooking Techniques

Pluck black locust’s fragrant, edible flowers when they’ve bloomed, and use them as a sweet addition to delicious dishes.

| November/December 2018

  • black locust flowers
    After harvesting black locust flowers, use them as soon as possible.
    Photo by Chelsea Green Publishing
  • black locust fritters
    Black locust fritters are a traditional dish in Europe and are often made with beer batter, though they can also be made with hard apple cider vinegar.
    Photo by Chelsea Green Publishing

  • black locust flowers
  • black locust fritters

Black Locust

Status: Widespread, native to southeast and northeast U.S.

Where: Along streets and in gardens, forests, and parks

Season: Late spring

Parts Used: Flowers



One of the many excitements on a forager's calendar in late spring is the appearance of black locust blossoms (Robinia pseudoacacia). They appear just when roses and peonies are peaking in gardens. The trees (also known as acacia or false acacia) occur all over North America. You have to pick them the second you see them in bloom, while the flowers are fresh.

As with other scented edible flowers, I find the best way of capturing their sweet taste and scent is in either a cold-infused syrup (heat kills delicate flavors) or a fermented cordial. These then form the base for recipes whose limit is only the scope of your imagination.



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