oh noble milkweed
Is there any edible plant more versatile and obliging than the noble milkweed? (rhetorical question)
Euell Gibbons dubbed the cattail "the supermarket of the swamp" for its many edible parts, but I worship at the altar of Asclepias syriaca, the common milkweed. I've extolled its virtues here before, and last night I fell in love with yet another aspect of this delicious plant: the young seed pods.
Michael and I are usually in Santa Fe this time of year, which means we ALWAYS miss the milkweed pod harvest. I've been looking forward to it for years, and was thrilled yesterday to find a large field with plenty o' pods just the right size for picking. And what is just the right size, you ask? From nubbins to about 1.5 inches long, says Sam Thayer. And I trust Sam Thayer.
After bringing the pods home, I cleaned them,
tossed with olive oil and a few cloves of minced garlic, then finished with butter, S&P, and a dusting of parmesan.
Like the other edible parts of the milkweed (shoots and immature flower buds) the pods had a green bean-y flavor, but that doesn't do them justice. The texture is soft and chewy, and the taste is fresh and green.
I like my first experience with any wild food to give me a realatively pure taste of the plant itself, and now that I've got that under my belt, I'm thinking stir fried milk weed pods teriyaki, milk weed pod curry, stewed milk weed pods w/tomatoes and onions. I'm open to suggestions, people.
Addendum: Foraging companion Mark was a little more adventurous and picked some larger buds (up to 2.5 inches long), making sure they were soft and springy despite the larger size. He reports them to be as delicious as the smaller buds, so next time I'll give them a try, too.