Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Milkweed Recipe - Milkweed Pods and Chickpea Salad

Mid summer is the time to gather the small, soft seed pods of the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) in open fields. Milkweed tends to grow in large colonies, and is an important food source for many butterflies and their caterpillars, like the Monarch. Between July and the end of August, the flowers have all passed, and the seed pods are in various stages of growth, often many different sizes on each plant.

Very small pods, about a half inch long are good for pickling or boiling as a green vegetable. Larger pods between 1 1/2 inches and 2 inches long are good for stuffing and baking, or stir frying. Before cooking the pods with a final recipe, they are scrubbed and boiled for 5 minutes. Many will pop open while boiling, that is not a problem. There is a natural seam on each pod that makes it easy to open the pod and remove the immature seeds and silk. The pods are good for eating as long as the seeds and silk are pure white and very soft. Any signs of browning indicates the seed pod is too old and will be tough to eat. Robert likes to eat the boiled insides of the seed pods mixed into other grains, as it seems to melt into a cheese-like texture. I like the boiled pods stuffed with cream cheese and baked, or just plain with a bit of butter and salt.

Here's a recipe for a chilled salad, good for these hot days of summer using milkweed pods about an inch long. I boiled the pods for 5 minutes, then sliced off the stem end before removing the silk and seeds. I cut the pods in half and tossed them with the dressing and other ingredients.


Milkweed Pods and Chickpea Salad                       makes about 3 c.

2 c. small milkweed pods, about 1-1 1/2" long
1 16 oz can chickpeas, drained
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese

dressing:
3 T red wine vinegar
1 T fresh basil, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T olive oil

1. Scrub the milkweed pods, and boil them for 5 minutes. Shock them in ice water. Slice the stem ends off the pods and slice them in half, removing the seeds and silk.
2. Toss the milkweed pods with the chickpeas, onions, and feta cheese.
3. To make the dressing, whisk the vinegar, chopped basil, salt, pepper, sugar and garlic together in a bowl. While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil slowly, making an emulsion. Toss the salad with the dressing, and allow it to refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

3 comments:

Angela Watts said...

I was just walking my dog the other day and saw some pods and wondered about them....they are so exotic looking.

Stuffed with cheese and grilled instead of baked sounds like a good first attempt though.

Joseph Guy said...

I stuffed some yesterday and we had them as entree...WOW...talke about good...Stuffed with cream cheese onions bacon and topped with bread crums....

Penumbra said...

Thank you for this awesome post! I can't wait to try these recipes. I gave you a shout out on my blog:
http://earthseeddetroit.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-herbal-confessional-herbal-update-3.html