Salad or soup. So make sure you have enough milkweed plants or the caterpillars will starve! Caterpillars hatch from the eggs and eat the milkweed leaves (and sometimes the flower buds and seed pods, if they are still hungry). Close-up of milkweed stem and oppositely opposed leaf set. When placed in cold water, brought to a boil and simmered till tender, milkweeds are said to be delicately flavored and harmless. The diet of the large milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) includes seeds, so the presence of seed pods does not necessarily guarantee a bountiful crop the next growing season.The insect pictured above visited the plant on August 21. 8 ounces of cream cheese or 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella. Milkweed recipes came to mind again during a recent stroll in Staten Island. A variation is to sauté them in rendered bacon fat and then top them with crumbled bacon. Planting milkweeds on your property will provide food plants for monarch caterpillars and nectar sources for adult butterflies. We’re going to start with the pods because they’re in season now, and cover the spring shoots later. The adults eat milkweed leaves, buds, and flowers, and reduce the flow of the sticky milky latex (which could gum up their mouthparts) by severing leaf veins below their feeding site. Milkweed pod at right size for eating. (The duration for boiling is 10 minutes and then a shock in ice water followed by another 2 minutes in boiling water and a final shock in ice water.) My first encounter with milkweed — my first encounter as an eater, that is — was at the much-missed New Amsterdam Market. Collect the silky seed pods as they develop. Prep the pods the same way you would for baking, but break or cut them in half so they’re a half-shelled pod. Milkweed can spread aggressively through both seeds and rhizomes. Milkweeds are easy to harvest and easy to prepare. Tropical milkweed's popularity as a landscape plant may help the monarchs regain territory. Then plant the seeds in a sunny place about 1/2" deep and water them for at least two weeks. Large pods up to 4 inches are the best for stuffing. Milkweeds serve as the host plant for monarchs (plus queen and soldier butterflies), meaning the butterflies lay their eggs on the milkweed. Milkweed Leaf Miners. Liriomyza asclepiadis is the specific species of leaf miner that feeds on … Give the pods the boiling water/ice-water treatment and chill them in the refrigerator. Raw milkweed pods are quite bitter and the white, milky sap is not exactly appetizing. The stems and lea… Stuff the pods until they’re full, but not so much that you can’t close the seam in the side of the pod. var query =; In order to remove the bitterness and the sap, they must be boiled in water and shocked in ice water, and then boiled and shocked again. Once the seed pods are a bit bigger, they enter the “milkweed cheese” stage. The rest of the plant parts are not quite so strong on a flavor preference. Most of the milkweed plant is edible including its leaves, stems, flowers and the seed pods. I like to let … You’re just giving them a final rinse and finish to clean the now-exposed inner membrane of the pod, and they’re ready for stuffing. Monarch butterflies also love milkweed pods too, as well as plenty of other parts of the plant. I’ll usually collect about 20 or so pods and head to the kitchen or camp. Milkweed Pods in Immature Stage “Silk” refers to the immature milkweed floss, before it has become fibrous and cottony. Harvesting the seed too soon. |, My first encounter with milkweed — my first encounter as an eater, that is — was at the much-missed, By RSS (updated whenever a new post is published). You can stuff them with any combination you like, but I prefer a mix of chopped vegetables and a cheese-like mozzarella or cream cheese. The large 3- to 4-inch pods also can be sautéed. However, milkweed also hosts a wide variety of other insect species such as red milkweed beetles, milkweed aphids and a moth called the milkweed tussock (also known as the milkweed tiger moth). Advice you’ll never hear from the mainstream media. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the crumbs or corn meal are browned. 24 to 30 large prepped milkweed pods, about 3 to 4 inches in length. The first time I came across honeyvine milkweed (Cynanchum laeve, family Apocynaceae), I had no idea of the plant's identity. Stuff You’ll Need To Survive A Winter Power Outage, Elderberry Recipes That Will Keep You Healthy All Winter, Natural Rabbit Repellents For Your Garden. } Milkweed flower buds. The upright stalks growing from the leaf joints are flower stalks. Step 3: Separate the milkweed seeds from their pods After thorough drying, they load the milkweed into a hammermill that crushes the pod and separates it from the hundreds of seeds it … It’s ok to eat milkweed pods, really As most of us know, humans aren’t the only ones that enjoy milkweed. This is perhaps the most unique food product that comes from the milkweed plant. If you plant tropical milkweed in your home landscape, do so with caution. Prior to the boiling water/ice-water shock, the seeds and silky floss need to be removed. August, September and early October are the prime months for milkweed pods in many parts of North America. It was an awful and frightening time. As much as I love sharing the joy of eating milkweed pods, I don’t do it too much publicly. Contact: Editor (at) Phone: 815-902-6086 2200 Illinois Route 84 Thomson, Illinois 61285. Pick pods as they turn brown, dry and mature. The seeds will have edges that appear like dry, dark brown colored paper. Or the pods can be sautéed, I later learned, after my small supply had been exhausted. (If I recall correctly, they displayed a split pod, shown below, to point out the pale interior; once it shows color, the pod is past eating.) Larger milkweed pods up to 4 inches are the best for stuffing. Apparently, unlike Red Milkweed Beetles which chew the leaves and roots, Large Milkweed Bugs do not directly chew on the seed pods. They are surprisingly tender and not bitter. I would say that the milkweed pods specifically, are an acquired taste, and that while some folks love them, others hate them. window.location=permalink+"?pintix=1"; Milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) feed on milkweed seed, but otherwise do not harm milkweed plants. } else { Milkweed recipes came to mind again during a recent stroll in Staten Island. Written by: Steve Nubie Off-Grid Foods 3 Comments.WP-PrintIcon{margin-bottom:-3px} Print This Article. You can either stuff the whole pod, or cut them in half to create a half-shelled pod and simply spoon the stuffing on top. New Year’s Resolution: Let’s Take Out Some Trash! var e=document.createElement('script');e.setAttribute('type','text/javascript');e.setAttribute('charset','UTF-8');e.setAttribute('src',''+Math.random()*99999999);document.body.appendChild(e); Or the pods can be sautéed, I later learned, after my small supply had been exhausted. This can be done by gently pulling the seam apart with your thumbs on the curved back of the pod and pulling out the silk and the seeds. Only a small percentage of milkweed seeds will break dormancy when planted in the Spring. url = url.replace( /#/, "" ); If you have dogs, PLEASE do yourselves a favor and get rid of any milkweed pods you find!! Give them a try and who knows — you may really like them and try them again and again. Milkweed is most often thought of as the home and food source of monarch butterfly larvae. Common milkweed plants grow to about 2 to 4 feet in height, with a thin, vertical growth habit. You shouldn’t see any more sap or bubbles. The pods range in size from 2 to 4 inches and grow in clusters of 4 to 8 pods. In early to mid-summer, the milkweed shoots first emerge, and they taste great when gently boiled, shocked and sautéed in butter or olive oil. } else if ( query != "pintix=1" ) { The brown dried pod in the upper left is just beginning to split open — perfect to harvest the seed. Milkweed pods of Asclepias viridis. Young milkweed plant before flowering. Drying. Look for milkweed bugs – red and black insects that eat milkweed seed. | West New Malaysia Restaurant ». Planting in the Spring. While it is hard to say what exact numbers the monarchs need, at least a couple dozen plants in any one area would be a minimum. They’re typically a light green color and filled with a combination of seeds and soft, silky floss. Chop … Sometimes I’ll add a little garlic. Above: Common milkweed has a springtime lookalike, which is toxic: dogbane ( Apocynum cannabinum ). Making Bread Without An Oven – The Pioneer Way, Easy-Storage Garden Foods You Don’t Have To Preserve, 8 Herbal Teas That Will Keep You Healthy All Winter Long. While they do no harm to the plant, if a pod is covered in these insects it’s likely the seed inside is no longer viable and those pods should be avoided. There is also a tough, inner lining or membrane that needs to be removed. “Although milkweeds are poisonous raw, the young shoots, leaves and seed pods are all edible cooked. It had milkweed-like seed pods, but they were dangling from a vine climbing high into a tree. The sap drains from the leaf, and the … Thankfully for me, the vine was also covered with oleander aphids (Aphis nerii). You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. Tropical milkweed blooms during much of the year and reseeds freely. Coat the seam with some bread crumbs or corn meal to help seal the pod during baking if you’re using a whole pod, and you can also sprinkle some on top of the half-shelled pods. Wash or Spray Pods with Water. After about two months, your milkweed plant will be big enough for caterpillars to eat. If monarch eggs are laid on plants other than milkweed, the caterpillars cannot survive and ultimately starve to death. The long, oblong leaves are light green and grow to about 8 inches long. They look similar to dogbane shoots which are very bitter, but dogbane has pointy leaves and a smooth surface while milkweed shoots have a velvety leaf like sage and rounded leaves. The best way to prepare milkweed shoots after you wash them is to remove the leaves from the stem and chop the stem into pieces about 2- to 3-inches long. Boil them for 3 minutes in salted water and then shock them in ice water. After you’ve chilled them for a few minutes in the ice water and you’ve removed the tough inner membrane, boil them again for 2 minutes. The prepped pods also can be frozen and should be good for up to 3 months. ! Potentially, yes. Milkweed has a reputation of being extremely bitter which puts a … Share your tips in the section below: ‘Off The Grid News’ is an independent, weekly email newsletter and website that is crammed full of practical information on living and surviving off the grid. One thing you’ll notice during the first boil is a lot of bubbles and the white sap floating to the surface. However, you can use any cheese. Monarch caterpillars are eating machines; each one will each mow through about 20 leaves. Have you ever eaten milkweed? But as I learned from the proprietors of Wild Gourmet Food, who would regularly make a five-hour drive from their Vermont foraging grounds to the market's home near the South Street Seaport, milkweed pods can be boiled and eaten whole. Although milkweed plants have natural toxicity to repel pests and other things that may want to eat the plant, there are plenty of pests that’ll eat up the milkweed’s seeds, stalks, and leaves. Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on the leaves of milkweed, the only host plant for this iconic butterfly species. Finally A Backup Generator That Doesn’t Need Gas! Step 1: Harvest seed pod from milkweed plant. After you remove the seeds, you’ll want to let them dry out for 3 days to a week. I’ve seen people make milkweed seed pod lasagna, and it … Seeds that are too young will appear orangish and translucent on the edges. The pod should be drying out and beginning to split. Drain the leaves and the shoots and sauté them in butter or olive oil. Usually, you'll notice milkweed bugs crawling all over your plant, especially once the seed pods have burst open. Of course, the most common pest would be the milkweed bug, as these bugs are the focus on this pest control guide. Here’s a sample recipe with the cheese blend and the proportions if you want to give it a try. You should however be very careful to identify the plant properly as it has several poisonous lookalikes including dogbane. That’s good news, and you don’t have to skim the surface. When you consume the pod, you are eating the silk with it. Monarchs caterpillars only eat milkweed. Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site! Mating red milkweed beetles. Dried some milk weed pods from the back yard and made them into hanging ornaments with some boa yarn and charms. We use cookies to personalize content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyze our traffic. It is also very sticky. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until they turn a golden brown. Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a native herbaceous perennial whose main virtue is its appeal to butterfliesespecially the monarch, which deposits its eggs on the milkweed. if ( permalink == url ) { } Without it, they cannot complete their life cycle and their populations decline. Stuff them and sauté on the bottom of the pod only in 3 tablespoons of oil and 3 tablespoons of butter. (If I recall correctly, they displayed a split pod, shown below, to point out the pale interior; once it shows color, the pod is past eating.) Milkweed pods can be kept in the refrigerator and will have a shelf life similar to other produce in the fridge. Main Other Ways to Eat Milkweed Pods Unstuffed small pods. Serve warm or cold with your favorite dip, or eat them plain. (Poisonous Plants of N.C. State) The flower buds, nectar-sweet flowers and seeds are also edible.” In addition to supporting the monarch, milkweed species are important sources of nectar for dozens of other butterflies and numerous pollinating insects such as native bees and honey bees. When the caterpillars hatch, they feed on the leaves of milkweed. var url = document.URL; This is easy to do after the first boil and shock by gently pulling the tough membrane from the pod. Also, though, I wanted to point out that milkweed also hapoens to be the ONLY food for the monarch butterfly, so please harvest responsibly. Milkweed podsTompkinsville, Staten Island, August 03, 2020 in Between Meals, Staten Island | Permalink, | Patrick McShea works in the Education and Visitor Experience department of Carnegie Museum of Natural History. var e=document.createElement('script');e.setAttribute('type','text/javascript');e.setAttribute('charset','UTF-8');e.setAttribute('src',''+Math.random()*99999999);document.body.appendChild(e); The best cooking methods involve baking or sautéing. Combine the cheese in a bowl with the diced pepper, diced onion and bacon; salt and pepper to suit your taste and combine everything with a large wooden spoon. I got this idea when picking pods after a rain storm. These are a bit large and would have been better a week or so earlier. If you want to harvest milkweed to eat, do it only when there are large quantities of the plant present. When the scans and X-rays came back, they found seeds from the milkweed in her stomach, so surgery was called for immediately to save her life. « Africana Mobile Kitchen | Milkweed shoots show up in the Spring. They have numerous seeds and a stringy, silky floss inside of the pod. Instead, they inject a chemical to break down the plant tissue with one tube-like part and use another tube to vacuum up the resulting juicy mess. The USDA reports that numerous American Indian tribes boiled and ate milkweed roots, shoots and buds. However, even if the pods shown above weren't so spiny — that is, possibly too mature — the setting, by a busy roadside, suggested that I leave them be. As such, milkweed is critical for the survival of monarchs. When the seeds are completely white inside the pod, without any flecks of brown, they cook up like a cheese substitute. Do not over-harvest. I’ve also tried some variations with chopped fruit. From long-ago afternoons I'd known that its leaves feed the caterpillars of monarch and swallowtail butterflies. You can also slit the pods to remove the immature white silk inside, eating only this morsel, briefly cooked—it is soft and very mild. The ice-water shock will rinse them. function callPin(permalink) { 1 jalapeno finely diced or two tablespoons of sweet bell pepper. This is done for any milkweed pod, regardless of its size. All the fluff … Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. They have an asparagus flavor note and the boiled and shocked leaves and stems also can be frozen for future use. Once the floss fluffs out like the one in the lower left, it is harder to remove from the seed. Gardeners should also cut it back to ground-level once a year.