Free food!! Foraging wild milkweed for the first time

For the past few months, I’ve been really interested in foraging local edible plants. Free food without added hormones or antibiotics? Yes please. My copy of Lone Pine’s Edible and Medicial Plants Canada was my guide as I set out into the wilderness to find some snacks. There’s a pond in my neighborhood around which common milkweed grows like crazy, so we picked some young seed pods and whipped up dinner.

asclepias syriaca
baby seed pods

The best time to pick them is when the seeds are young, about 1-2 inches long. At this baby stage, the pods are nice and tender and the seeds inside are soft and silky. As they mature, the seeds get tougher and less edible. Crack open a pod to check if the seeds are still nice – if you see brown, it’s definitely too mature to enjoy.

blanching ’em

After picking some pods, I washed them in cold water, then I blanched them for about 3 minutes. They popped and hissed as they were boiled. I rinsed them in cold water afterwards to deflate the pods and stop them from cooking.

I battered them using eggwash and breadcrumbs – after that, I fried them in sunflower oil! It was my first time foraging and cooking any wild edible and the result was rather pleasant. I discovered that the smaller pods were definitely the tastiest, and the larger ones were tougher and perhaps more bitter. Milkweed seed pods have a rich flavor that borders on slight bitterness but is overall still enjoyable. They taste healthy, if that makes any sense. They were satisfying to eat and tasted pretty good with plum sauce.

ta-da! (some were burnt and bitter)

It was great cooking something free, local, and organic – and it was honestly fun. I’ll definitely cook them again, and hopefully find some more edibles in the area. Next on my list of things to try is sumac “lemonade” – stay tuned!