Milkweed makes good munching

I’m giving new meaning to “grazing” in my daily routine. Throughout the day, I nibble a little of this, a little of that. Milkweed always makes it onto the list (of my mouth).

I know you can eat the shoots, but I got into the wild harvesting game too late for that, and have been eating mainly at the (flower) bud stage, a la:

For a couple of weeks while it was at its peak, I was managing to sell these buds to a local chef for $40/kilo. (Only harvesting half from each plant) They do have a broccoli taste, but he also said they reminded him of cantaloupe:

You can eat this raw, no problem, but separate the little buds from the main stalk which is full of latex that you won’t be happy to stick in your mouth (neither is it the end of the world if you eat a little of the “milk”). My chef told me that he was blanching them, and that as they turned red, the flavor was not quite as good.

I still have some green ones left, because of all the microclimates over 50 hectares, but the majority of them have opened up their flowers. This photo shows early-stage flowering:

I’ve found the flowers to be palatable as well.

And we’re not there yet, but young milkweed pods are also edible, and can even be pickled.

It’s in French, but this is a good extract from an older Quebec TV show about wild foods on milkweed, or asclepiade in French: