We had read about a bitterness associated with the plant and the sap, and possible poisonous characteristics of the sap. We also read some strongly worded arguments about the non-bitterness of milkweed. Most people who have actually gone out and really tried milkweed seem to agree that it is not bitter, and does not need to be boiled in 3 changes of water to make it safe to eat. We decided to go a safe middle route, and boiled our milkweed once for about 8 minutes. All parts we tried after a initial boiling-the shoots, flower buds, and pods-were very tasty and not bitter at all. I will admit that once we used the boiled parts in a recipe and the milkweed was cooked again, it tasted even better. Milkweed is a wonderful addition to recipes as a vegetable, it's flavor resembles green beans.
Next come the flower bud clusters. We picked them when the clusters were still fairly tight, the stems of the flowers will elongate and the cluster will become much looser and floppier right before the flowers open. At this stage, the flower bud clusters look like broccoli. We boiled them about 2 minutes and tasted them with butter and a bit of salt. Again, they tasted a bit like green beans, only with a more velvety texture. After an initial quick boil, we keep some in the fridge to add to stir-fry vegetables. Then we cooked them in a quiche and in soups, and they tasted even better. We also made a caper-like condiment with the brined and pickled buds. We did not taste the open flowers yet, although they are edible.