This is the first of our Noble Interests that cannot be bought for the kitchen but must be foraged for. So the first step you must take in order to sample the delights offered here is to find your linden tree.
DISCLAIMER!: The wise person knows exactly what it is that they are putting in their mouth. If you are not an accomplished forager, go to the nearest Teacher of Wild Edibles and learn. Always have your field guides with you, even if you are an accomplished forager. Eat nothing for which you have not attained “negative recognition”. That's the point at which, if I hold up a banana and tell you that it's an apple, you automatically and decisively state “No, it isn't!” and are able to defend your statement, even if I argue with you, by accurately recounting the positive field identification marks for a banana. That being said, I encourage you to learn to forage. The intangible benefits are as great as the tangible ones.
First things first, here's a really excellent video on identifying the linden. It was done in the winter which is the hardest time of the year to identify most plants so it's doubly nice. I don't know if the contest he speaks of is still being done, but I will be checking on it!
This site has some great information on this particular page and a recipe I'd like to try. I tried to access this site further in order to both find some other recipes and provide a link to the homepage, but all access was denied. Being a plant geek and not a tech geek, I'm stymied. As soon as my tech support is done plowing the driveway, I'll get him to look into it. If he gets anywhere I'll post you an update.
Here's a simple recipe for a sweetish loaf of bread. I came across a reference to the use of linden flour to stretch wheat flour being common Medieval practice but I've been unable to find a confirmation of that.
If you'd like a little something to go on your bread you can drizzle it with linden honey. Or, they say that the immature seeds make a chocolate-flavored paste. You could try making some Linden Chocolate yourself. Here’s how:
Mix 12 parts immature seed to 1 part dried flowers and process, either in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle.
Add enough grapeseed oil to help you make it into a paste.
Use it immediately, it loses its flavor very quickly.
On the other hand, it may be less satisfactory than, say, chocolate. To be fair, I do recall reading somewhere that you need to crack the kernel of the seed open and use just the inside. It's also possible that you need the flowers to bring out the chocolate flavor in the seeds. It's worth experimentation. If you try it out, let me know how it goes for you in the comments below.
Try a hot cup of Linden coffee after dinner. I got this recipe from Vermont Mango Plantation.
Roast mature seeds at 300 degrees F for 20 minutes until dry and browned. Grind when cool and make as you would coffee.
That's a fair number of uses for a tree that I had previously only associated with honey and tea. Did I forget anything? Do you have a favorite way of presenting our Noble Interest to your dinner guests? Please share it with me in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by!
I'll explore the medicinal uses of Linden in tomorrow's Knowings of the Leech.