We are learning about wild edibles in our backyard and getting brave trying a few of them. This week it was the flower buds from the Common Milkweed plant. I think I remember being told as a child to never eat milkweed — “the white stuff that oozes out is NOT milk.” In fact, milkweed was just an ugly weed that grew on the school playground. The blossoms are in full bloom during the summer months, after school is out, so I didn’t realize how beautiful they are until a couple years ago when I let them fully grow in our back yard. The flowers smell sweet — if you like lilac, you’ll love milkweed! Monarch butterflies also love the milkweed plants. They lay their eggs on them, and the caterpillars eat the leaves. If you keep an eye out, you may have some chrysalises nearby like we have had on our house and deck.
Anyway, I recently learned that milkweed is, in fact, edible if it’s cooked properly. I was hesitant to try it because of being told to NOT eat it as a child, but I did some research and decided to give it a try. The fried blossom buds were not only GOOD, but everyone in my family ate some and liked it (even my asparagus-hating husband). There are different methods of cooking milkweed, and the plant has some poisonous look-a-likes, so PLEASE do your research and never eat any plant unless you are sure it’s safe.
What you will need for fried milkweed blossoms: freshly-picked blossom buds, Drake’s fry mix (or homemade fry coating), water, and oil for frying. Boil the blossoms for 1 minute in two changes of water, drain and cool. Next, while the frying oil is heating up, mix your dipping batter (Drake’s and water). Dip each blossom in batter and then coat with dry mix so you have a double coating. Fry in the hot oil until blossoms are golden and crispy. Enjoy!