Thursday, July 1, 2010

Milkweed for supper!

“I have good news, Julia! We managed to pick up a few milkweed flowers. Would you like to cook them for supper?” Phil asked me.

“Sure!” was my reply. I was more than excited to try milkweed that night.

Last fall I read an article about edible properties of a milkweed plant. It grows everywhere where we live in PA, and I was looking forward to spring to try it. They say the young shoots are very similar in taste to asparagus, which we love! But, sadly, I wasn’t able to locate them early enough in the spring, even though last year’s dried up stalks were a perfect hint.

So, we’ll try the flower heads then! It was great to have Phil’s approval. It is kind of less nerve racking if you know that a master forager is nearby!

I prepared four pots with boiling water and cooked the flowers in each pot for about a minute or so, then disposed the water. That took care of the bitterness and whatever toxic elements, in the plant. Just in case if there are some.

We dressed the cooked milkweed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and got busy munching on it.

It had very nice mild flavor and rather pleasant texture. It wasn’t too rough or too soggy and was very easy to chew and swallow. I enjoyed it and so did Mirek and Phil. Diane and the kids were not feeling that adventurous and decided to skip it.

During milkweed’s next growing stage there will be pods are edible. You should pick them while young and tender, way before the white fluff starts to form. They say these are delicious as well.

And for the fluff, it is a great insulator that could be hand gathered and used in quilts, pillows, blankets, and, if you manage to get enough through out the years, a healthy alternative to house insulation. I remember reading that there is a company in the US that specializes in wilkweed production.

It is fascinating to learn so much useful information about a plant, which is considered a monarch butterfly egg laying sanctuary, but unsuited otherwise.


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