Monday, June 20, 2011

Milkweed Recipe - Milkweed Flowerbud Capers

We picked slightly looser flowerbud clusters from common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) plants to try to make a caper-like condiment. If you read the ingredients list on a jar of capers, it is mostly salt and vinegar. I looked up some recipes, and adapted them to make one 8 oz. jar of milkweed capers. They are a bit heavy on the vinegar, but tender and tasty.  Robert tried a different recipe, using garlic cloves and a salt brine only, and let the flowerbuds lacto-ferment. Both produced a great little condiment with strong flavors that we can use all year. We store them in the fridge. The capers can be served with some smoked salmon, some rich paté, or cooked into a piccata sauce.

Vinegar Milkweed "Capers"                       makes 1-8 oz. jar

2 Tbsp. salt
1 c. water
1 c. milkweed flower buds

Vinegar pickling juice:
1/2 c. white wine vinegar
1/4 c. water
2 tsp sugar
2 bay laurel leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme

1. Wash the milkweed flower buds to remove insects. Boil them for 2 minutes, shock in ice water, and squeeze to remove excess water. Pack them into an 8 oz. canning jar.
2. Make the salt brine by bringing the water and salt to a boil. Pour the hot brine over the flower buds. Cover the jar and let it sit at room temperature for 3 days.
3. Drain the salt brine from the jar. Make the vinegar pickling juice by boiling the vinegar with the sugar, bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Pour the hot vinegar over the flower buds and allow to cool.
4. Cover the jar and refrigerate for 3 days. The capers are ready to use, keep refrigerated.

Lacto-fermented Milkweed "Capers"                            makes 1-8 oz. jar

1 c. milkweed flower buds
1 c. water
1 Tbsp.  salt

1. Wash the milkweed buds, boil them for 2 minutes, shock in ice water, squeeze to remove excess water,  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 flower buds 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 store in the refrigerator in the brine.


Cindy Rowland said...

I'm up in central CT and have been reading Hank Shaw's blog for a couple years now. I just stumbled into your blog via punk domestics and can't tell you how excited I am about it.

The 3 Foragers said...

Thanks, Cindy. We are also fans of Hank Shaw's work and ideas. We hope to meet him when his book tour comes to Providence RI in October.

Blanche Cybele Derby said...

Just wondering... I'd like to try your caper recipe but I'd like to substitute apple cider vinegar for the white wine vinegar. (or is it only good with white?)
I've been enjoying your blog & recipes;so glad that we finally got to meet eachother!--B

The 3 Foragers said...

Hi Blanche, it was great finally meeting you, too. I was trying to use a neutral flavored vinegar, and I actually modified the recipe a bit since I think the vinegar flavor is too strong. I added a bit of water in place of some of the vinegar. Apple cider vinegar should work as well, along with rice wine vinegar or champagne vinegar. I think I would just avoid something colored or strong like balsamic or red wine. We are still working on perfecting the recipe, and coming up with more ideas.

Mafalda56 said...

Hi !

I'm come from Québec and pick plenty of milkweed buds yesterday in order to do your delicious receipe.

But (as a french speaking), I just wonder what is a T ? Like in "2 T of salt? A table spoon T

Thanks, I'll continue to use your blog with a lot of fun !


The 3 Foragers said...

T means Tablespoon
tsp means teaspoon.
There are 3 teaspoons in 1 tablespoon.

omama said...

Thanks, I am excited to try this. We have so much milkweed in our field... great to make use of it in our kitchen!

hella said...

although it's some time since the post ....
talking about vinegar and which one to use: have you ever tried "verjus" (the french word for "green juice")?
in switzerland and france,verjus is often used instead of vinegar or lemon, when you go for a "milder tartness" in ANY dish.
"verjus" is made from unripe grapes and a good use for grape, that were cut to get a high quality wine from the remaining grapes