This spring I gathered quite a few gallons of alder catkins this spring and experimented around with them. During the early spring when nothing else is out to eat I used to grab a few to chew on here and there, but never tried to save any for year round. They probably have allot of nutrients like anything full of pollen, but I can’t imagine they have much energy in them, so they’re best as a spice.
I tried just gathering them and saving them, but it turns out there’s allot more moisture in them than it seems, so I had to roast them in a pan over he woodstove and they released allot of steam. After that I picked out al the burnt pieces and could rub them between my palms to get all the ‘kernals’ off, and they’re allot more palatable that way.
When picking them make sure to take the earliest ones you can get, the most yellow. They have the most pollen. Avoid the ones that are fully or partially closed, there’s a little insect that burrows in them (I have yet to see what the insect is, just the holes it makes). These unopened catkins seem to cause allot of the mold and burn easier and don’t have any pollen in them anyways.