|Lacto-fermented Milkweed Buds on the way into the fridge.|
I love, love, love wild edibles. Last year I started eating milkweed shoots. The tender tips when they are first coming up are delicious boiled and then served in a creamy soup or just mashed up. There is a toxin in them that is gotten rid of through boiling and tossing the water. The resulting greens look like overcooked asparagus and have a taste that is a bit of a cross between asparagus and green beans. Due to copious amounts of canned green beans in my youth I can't stand even the thought of them, but somehow milkweed shoots don't bother me. Apparently they are similar to dogbane shoots which are mildly poisonous, but Forager's Harvest gives a good description of how to tell the difference, and once you are confident in your colony of milkweed it is quite easy picking the shoots.
Now that we're on the subject of milkweed though, let's not stop. It's amazing! There is pretty much something edible at every point of its lifecyle, the shoots, the tender littlest leaves, the buds, the flowers, the seed pods - remember boiling and tossing the water is a must! Also you can make rope from the fibrous stalks. I certainly would like to try that!
Last year I boiled and then froze quite a bit and tossed them into casseroles and soups throughout the winter. This spring I somehow missed the milkweed shoots coming up (what the heck was I doing?), but I am pleased to report I had perfect timing for making lacto-fermented milkweed bud capers. A gal in my permaculture group recommended them and provided a recipe which is from The3Foragers. Below is the their recipe.
Lacto-fermented Milkweed "Capers" makes 1-8 oz jar
1 c. milkweed flowerbuds
1 c. water
1 T salt
1. Wash the milkweed buds, boil them for 2 minutes, and pack them into an 8 oz. canning jar.
2. Mix the water and salt together, mixing until the salt is dissolved. Pour the brine over the flowerbuds and cover.
3. Allow the buds to ferment at room temperature for 6-7 days. The liquid will appear to bubble out, so keep the jar on a plate. Keep the buds submerged at all times, using a weighted lid inside the jar, otherwise mold will be produced.
4. Taste and refrigerate.
We just got back from a trip to visit family in PA and I was sort of bracing myself to find our garden in shambles...too dry, or totally overrun with squash bugs, but low and behold we have summer squash and zucchini ready, and looks like the borage is about to bloom as well. It seems like I'd read a ton about eating those flowers earlier...now to find those recipes, and give them a whirl. The veggies are in raised beds so we are good to start eating, but I'm still waiting on the lead test results from the bed with the borage so will wait on eating those. Quite a few folks in my gardening group have high lead in their in-town soil. Scary, especially with our house being built in 1850. Anyway, I finally sent soil off last week of all my nonraised beds. It seems that greens are the worst in terms of lead poisoning, but fortunately all of our greens are either in containers or raised beds.
Our two window boxes of lettuce are really producing nicely, and with kale, and now summer squash and zucchinni, not to mention basil and radishes we are having some tasty eats this week!
Oh, check out this delicious sounding recipe for Zucchini Blossoms. I made stuffed fried pumpkin blossoms last year. Stuffed with goat cheese and then dipped in milk and then dredged in cornmeal with flour and a bit of salt, and fried till golden brown. It was insanely good. I love the looks of the zucchini blossom recipe because they're stuffed but not fried. Who wants to fry when it's so hot anyway? Not me. But ricotta, I could swing that. Yummy.