Posted by Dyson Forbes on 9th Jul 2015
Common Milkweed - Asclepias syriaca
Milkweed flower - Photo by Dyson Forbes
Milkweed flowers are starting to bloom into vibrant and intoxicating pompom
like florets. Walk anywhere around Southern Ontario right now and they are poking out of gardens, spotting around meadows and filling in beside roads. It has been great to see how much more milkweed is around this year. Thanks to efforts from David Suzuki Foundation and many concerned butterfly loving folk all over Canada and the US.
Milkweed flower buds, perfect for capers - Photo by Dyson Forbes
The Monarch butterfly uses the leaf and stems of the common milkweed plant to breed and the monarch catapiller uses the leaf as its primary food source. The flowers and pods on the other hand are fine for humans, however it is best to leave some on the plant so the plants can produce seeds.
Monarch caterpillar bathing in the scent of freshly opened milkweed flowers - Photo by Dyson Forbes
The flowers buds can be used like capers or lacto-fermented pickles, or stir fry them like other young vegetables. The new flowers make a lovely flower syrup, placed in salads for added colour, or for a crispy treat, batter them and fry like a pakora or a fritter. In a couple weeks the young pods will be ready and a new years batch of pickled milkweed pods will be available check out our shop for more information
Milkweed pods - Photo by Dyson Forbes
It is our opinion that the more people understand the value of this plant, the better chance we have in helping bring back the environment needed for the Monarch's survival, this means not just planting in gardens, but cultivating the plant for its fibers and for food on a commercial scale. Some work has been done in this regard in places such as Quebec where there are now milkweed farms, but there is still a lot more that can be done. This year try and eat some Milkweed.
Pickled Milkweed pods - Photo by Forbes Wild Foods