Fried Milkweed Pods
Milkweed, despite its notoriety as a poisonous plant, can be not only edible but delicious. Monarchs have known this for a long time and some will shun eating monarch food, but as long as you’re only picking in areas where it’s plentiful and not taking too much, those monarchs will do just fine. Common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, is safe and delightful in all stages of the plant's life if properly prepared. Any part of the plant (and almost all of it is good to eat) must be boiled for a few minutes prior to eating. This removes the toxins in the plant.
The buds of milkweed are best when picked relatively young. If they get too old they will be tough and fibrous, but the younger ones will have a little bit of crunch and a delicious flavor and texture. It is very comparable to okra, but less slimy. Thus, here I treated it like we would have okra back in my home state of Kentucky: deep fried. And BOY GIDDY UP! Those deep fried milkweed pods did NOT disappoint! Nor did the garlic chili aioli I served with them.
1 lb of milkweed pods
½ c rice flour
½ c all purpose flour
1 qt canola oil
1 tsp salt (plus more to sprinkle on top at the end)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 c milk
Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil the pods for two minutes.
Strain the water and place pods on a towel and gently press the pods to remove any excess liquid. Let them sit out and dry for a half hour or so.
Beat egg and milk together in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix flour, salt and spices together and set aside.
Cut larger milkweed pods in half or thirds and smaller ones can be left whole. You can cut them lengthwise or cross sectional. Don’t matter.
Pour canola into a large cast iron pan (3” depth, 12” diameter). Heat to about 375-400 degrees F.
Drop a handful of the pods into the milk-egg mixture and let sit for a few minutes. Dredge in the flour mixture and transfer to the hot oil.
Fry for a few minutes and using a spoon do your best to turn the pods so that each side comes to a golden brown.
Remove and place into a towel lined bowl or basket. Serve with thai chili garlic dipping sauce or ranch or whatever your heart/stomach desires.
Love every bite because they’re going to go quick.