The squirrels in your yard go absolutely berserk over the fruit on your Osage orange tree and you are beginning to suspect that they may be on to something, yet you have never cooked with hedge apples. Most Americans are familiar with hedge apples through an old wives' tale that indicates their use as spider repellents. You are supposed to scatter them about your basement to drive creepy crawlies away. Technically, the seeds of the hedge apple are edible. Wild animals certainly love them and the trees smell like oranges, so they must be pretty good.
Unfortunately, the seeds are a bit difficult to extract. This is why squirrels make such a huge mess in your yard while they are eating. Hedge apples are round, light green fruits about six inches in diameter. They are very wrinkly and have tough outer skins. To get the seeds, first wash your hedge apple. Next, cut your hedge apple into slices. Inside of the hedge apple, you will find stringy flesh that you cannot eat in the center. This flesh will be surrounded by hundreds of tiny seeds that look similar sesame seeds. The seeds will be trapped in a very sticky substance inside the husk.
You need to remove the seeds from the fleshy part of the apple, then wash away all of the slime. Next, dry your seeds and remove them from their tiny husks. Your hedge apples can now be roasted, just like sesame seeds. You can roast them dry or toss them in some olive oil first. When this is done, you can use the hedge apple seeds in any recipe that calls for sesame seeds. They can be used to top rolls or breads, or spread over a salad if you want to give it a slight crunch.