“A day in the country is worth a month in town”Christina Rossetti

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Its Milkweed Time! Cooking with Tizy!

When we got Zola and Vinegar, the first two bred does, in August three years ago, I spent hours removing milkweed from the field we prepared for them. Milkweed is poisonous to goats. They are back in that field now, and I have not seen the milkweed yet, and was quite happy about it.
Tizy is a long time friend, and past coworker of Hubs. He has a great sense of humor, and of experimentation, especially when it comes to foraging and the culinary arts. A few days ago I got this notice from him, and he is allowing me to pass on the news.

I just wanted to give you a heads-up that the milkweeds are coming into their "prime" now. We had our first batch yesterday, and they were delicious. For years, I was "skeered" to try them, but we've had them 4 or 5 times now (with no ill effects), so I've got no hesitation about recommending them to anyone else now. I'd rank them among the choicest wild greens. (And when you line them up on the plate, they make an "elegant" presentation.)

If you read the wild food books, they all say you need to boil milkweed in 2 or 3 changes of water to "remove the bitterness", but I've convinced myself that (at least for the milkweeds growing around here), there just ain't no bitterness to remove. Every time I've made them, I've snuck one after the first boiling, and there wasn't the slightest bitterness of any kind. If you Google "milkweeds", you'll see there's a fella in the Midwest who's spent a lot of time trying to get to the bottom of this alleged "bitterness" business (cuz his milkweeds aren't bitter either), and the best he could come up with is that maybe they're bitter somewhere, but it's probably one of those situations where the plant's are extremely sensitive to microclimate. If so, I live in a favored milkweed "appellation". The wild food books also tell you to wait until the water's fully boiling before dropping in the milkweed, but I suspect that's "hooey" as well. Next time, I'll throw caution to the wind and just boil them "regular" to see how they'll come out. I suspect there won't be any difference.

If you're on a quest to eradicate milkweed from your farm, eating them's a great way to do it.

Now before you go traipsing through the field for your milkweed, please be aware that there are many kinds, and parts can be toxic. Check out the links I found for good information and some interesting history also.

Identifies many milkweed plants. Its a large genus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asclepias

Interesting stories here: http://www.woodrow.org/teachers/bi/2000/Ethnobotany/milkweed.html


Kittie Howard said...

As always a very interesting post. I'd heard one could eat Milkweed but wasn't quite sure about the prep. I know the Brits enjoy their version of Milkweed. And, when you have a chance, I have an award for you on my blog.

Deere Driver said...

From Tizy:

"It occurred to me that I should have probably added a warning that common milkweed* needs to be cooked to break down some mild toxins in its milky sap. The gatherer also needs to be able to differentiate common milkweed from the similar looking, but toxic butterfly weed and dogbane (which also has a milky sap).

*It's the common milkweed that's edible. There are other types of milkweed that are inedible."

DD: I think I added a couple of links to help people find their way, but folks, try a bit at a time. I don't know how TOXIC it can be. Tizy eats all sorts of stuff that you might not try. He may have a tough gut!

Kittie Howard said...

DD, Jack has a post on Milkweed at Sage to Meadow you'd enjoy. He's a rancher in Texas. Think you'd enjoy his blog (lots of nature posts). I left a comment with Mundo that his blog couldn't be accessed (I also tried; had to go to one of his comments to link). THANKS! From what I'm seeing on my little blog, people are so fed up with corporate greed feelings are beyond politics and into the realm of restoring sanity! Happy you're pleased with the award; you do so much to spread Nature's joy!

Rt. click on the award; in the pop up, click Send to Pictures and close window. Go to Layout. Left click Add a Gadget on far right column where you want award to go. In the pop-up to left, click Pictures. In the new pop-up, you'll see a place for a photo. Go to side menu and open Pictures. Click on the award, then click Open at bottom of pop-up. The award will go to pop-up for sizing. You can write what you like on the line on the pop-up. CLICK SAVE. This sends the award to your blog. You can re-position the award with a left click and moving it within the column. This is what works on my HP; hope it works for you. K.

Feral Female said...

Very informative post!

Peggy said...

Once it has been boiled, milkweed buds are just fine to eat. We had a Eual Gibbons book in the kitchen that my parents referred to often. I remember going out with my mother and a bowl and getting them. Unlike other vegetables that get flown in from across the world, these were only available in the spring. Therefore the seasonalality made it a great treat. It has been so long now, I have forgotten what it tastes like. Spinach?