The Feisty Forager: Milkweed
March Madness — Day 30
Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a delightful plant that pleases not only the Monarch butterflies that come to drink its nectar, but humans who go adventuring in pastures and fields.
The early shoots can be pulled and parboiled a time or two, then sautéed and eaten like young asparagus.
Young flowers and buds can be gathered and turned into fritters, or steamed and eaten as broccoli.
Milkweed pods can be gathered in early stages (before the interiors become silky) and used as one would use okra. A favorite recipe involves roasting over an open fire, brushed with fresh garlic and butter, salt and pepper and a bit of cayenne.
This article is one of a month-long series of foraged treasures. For more recipes from the field and forest, check out Appalachian Appetite: Recipes from the Heart of America.