Kids see the world differently than adults. A few days ago we were playing in the backyard when Bryan noticed Henry sitting on the ground eating something. Bryan walked over and saw that Henry was picking up the “helicopters,” as we call them, peeling them, and eating the inside. Not knowing if they were edible, Bryan quickly went to Google and found out that maple seeds, as they are actually called, are, indeed, edible. Henry had already reassured him of this and suggested we start storing them for the winter.
Later that day I saw a large bowl full of maple seeds sitting on our kitchen counter. The boys had gathered most of the seeds in our backyard. We spent free time here and there over the next few days shelling maple seeds. It’s very simple. You just crack them near the seed and peel back. The seeds come out easily. We dropped the seeds into a bowl and, slowly but surely, developed a little collection.
I was reminded how enjoyable it is to have a mindless activity to go to, especially in the evenings. Bryan and I sat on the porch together, chatting, with a bowl of maple seeds between us for a few nights. So many rituals in life have been made “more convenient" with modern technologies, (think laundry, baking, repairing) but we miss out on the joy that comes with simple, repetitive tasks that take patience and time. Shelling maple seeds reminded me how important it is to know the land around us. I had no idea there was food falling from trees in our backyard.
A quick Google search provides all sorts of information about maple seeds and their usefulness as food. Maple seeds have protein and Omega 3 & 6 fatty acid. The bigger they get, the more bitter they taste so keep that in mind as you choose which to shell. I did read that you can boil the seeds to reduce the bitter taste, but I haven’t tried that. You can just eat them raw, but toasting or roasting them makes them a little more enjoyable. You can snack on them plain, toss them on a salad, add them to granola, you pick!
Toasted Maple Seeds
(a very “approximate” recipe-one for you to build from!)
About 1 c maple seeds
1 T butter
1/4 t salt
1 T maple syrup
- Heat butter in skillet.
- Add the maple seeds and stir as they toast.
- Add the salt and continue toasting for about 10 min, stirring continuously.
- Add the maple syrup at the last minute or two and stir to coat.
- Remove from heat and let cool.