Tonight, Alex and I prepared the Milkweed Alex found on his most recent foraging trip. As was described in the last post, Milkweed has qualities that require a great deal of boiling prior to ingestion.
The way in which we prepared the Milkweed wasn’t anything special, but there was a specific amount of boiling that is necessary.
- Clean and cut Milkweed.
- Keep 1 large and 1 small pot on hand. Boil water in the large pot and begin boiling the Milkweed in the smaller pot.
- Boil Milkweed in smaller pot for 1 minute and then drain and continue boiling the milkweed with water from the big pot. Over the next 4 minutes, change the water 4 more times. Do not use cold water in the changes as they will set a strong bitter taste in the Milkweed. You should let the 5th change of water cook the Milkweed for the last 10 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
Alex liked them. They were bitter, but not bitter enough to make him dislike them. The smaller shoots weren’t bitter at all and he loved them!
As for myself, I was not a fan. Maybe I tasted the more bitter shoots, but either way…they were too bitter for me! We decided it was the leaves that caused the unfortunate taste. After also tasting the bottom of the shoots, I agree with that conclusion.
Apparently, Alex might have found them a little late in their growth cycle which could’ve contributed to their bitter taste. That also might explain why the smaller shoots we tasted were less bitter.
Overall, they smelled delicious (like Asparagus) and if you like a bitter vegetable, MILKWEED IS FOR YOU!
What a gorgeous Thursday! I have the day off and the weather has cooperated splendidly. What else could I do but take a walk with my Edible Plants field guide and see if I could find something to eat. I thought I would walk from my parents house in Cascade up to the new Cascade Burton Park and see what I could find.
My afternoon stroll had only began before I was bent over examining the leaves of a whole bunch of Common Milkweed growing alone the slope of a drainage pond behind The Family Fare strip mall. I had remembered Milkweed coming up in my perusing through the pages of my field guide. Sure enough Common Milkweed is an edible plant and is considered to be very tasty.
The Common Milkweed
Milkweed is very easy to identify with its big broad meaty leaves and tall stem. It also bleeds a milky white sap wherever broken much like watery glue. The white liquid is very bitter tasting and mildly toxic so before Sam and I eat our Milkweed we’ll have to Boil it in several changes of water.
Just like the Cattails we’ll be eating the young shoots of the Milkweed plant before they reach 6 inches in height. When I came on the large group of Milkweed most had already surpassed the young tender stage and could not be picked for eating but I managed to root through the grass and find a good number for our meal.
Now even if I would have come across a whole bunch of Milkweed shoots I would have left a majority alone as Sam and I aren’t the only folks who will be eating Milkweed. Milkweed is the only food for Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars. In fact by eating the toxic sap the worms themselves become poisonous, pretty clever. Also the flowers and seed pods of the Common Milkweed are edible as well so Sam and I will be able to return later in the year and have a second harvest.
After the success of the drainage ditch I must say Cascade Burton Park had a high bar to beat and sadly I couldn’t top my Milkweed discovery. I found many beautiful sections of woods and some great little clearings but nothing to eat. I did find a pretty little white flowers that could become wild strawberries but I can’t be sure until they bear fruit. Either way I’ll have to return to the quaint little park and find out.
For more pictures of my forage check out our Facebook page