Saturday, July 6, 2013

Milkweed, Common

Milkweed, Common

 Opening flowers. 

You may be surprised to know there are many kinds of Milkweed, but this post is on the Common Milkweed.  If you are unfamiliar, you will want to learn how to identify them. 
I was skeptical about these at first but was pleasantly surprised.  How can a plant with that yucky, white, sticky,  latex-like stuff inside taste good?  They do!  For me though, this will mostly stay a survival food or rare treat as Monarch butterflies use them for nurseries and food, so I personally don't want to take that away from them if not necessary.  If you find a large patch, it's fine to take some.  Of course, no matter what you are harvesting, you don't want to deplete the whole plant source. 

Milkweed Shoots

Small tender shoots, up to about 8 inches tall, and young leaves are tasty.  Later in the season, the top few inches are still tender until the plant gets a couple feet tall.  These can be boiled, steamed, fried. 

Flower Buds

The flower buds, before the flowers open, can be eaten raw, boiled, or battered.  They can be added to soups, stir-fry, casseroles, etc.  They can be used in many different recipes.  I boiled some (and then topped it with butter and salt) and battered some.  When I try something new, I like to try it on its own first.  :)

 Flower buds

I used the recipe that I used in the fried Dandelion post: 1 cup of milk, 1 egg, 1 cup of flour, 1/2 tsp salt.  I would have liked the battered ones better if I had flattened them out a bit more and fried them more crispy, but they were still good.

Boiled flower buds, top of plate, and battered ones. 

I found this web site about making Milkweed Capers from flower buds.  (click here)

Milkweed Pods

A few of these were a little big and tough, but 
most of these were nice and tender when cooked. 

Reminds me of a fish inside.  Looks like scales.  :)
Nice and white and soft inside.

Immature seed pods are edible.  When they get bigger, they get tough.  The best ones are under 3 inches or so.  You can boil them until tender or fry them in a little butter or oil.  I tried them both ways.  The boiled ones were pretty good, but I didn't like them sauteed in butter so much; and I normally love things prepared like that.  I still prefer young Milkweed greens to the pods.  When picking the pods, if the insides look dry, they are too old.  They should be soft and white with no brown.  The whole pod is edible, including the silk and seeds.  Some people boil them for a few minutes and then stuff them with other things.  Some say they taste like asparagus or okra.  I'm not sure how to describe the taste.  You will have to try them for yourself.  :)  The silk can be boiled with rice and is said to look like mozzarella cheese in the rice.

When I first try something new, I like to try them plain to
really get a good idea of the taste.  I think these would be 
very good in recipes.  These were boiled/steamed.

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