One thing you’ll notice during the first boil is a lot of bubbles and the white sap floating to the surface. Milkweed Leaf Miners. From long-ago afternoons I'd known that its leaves feed the caterpillars of monarch and swallowtail butterflies. Close-up of milkweed stem and oppositely opposed leaf set. Apparently, unlike Red Milkweed Beetles which chew the leaves and roots, Large Milkweed Bugs do not directly chew on the seed pods. Gardeners should also cut it back to ground-level once a year. The sap drains from the leaf, and the … I got this idea when picking pods after a rain storm. Contact: Editor (at) OffTheGridNews.com Phone: 815-902-6086 2200 Illinois Route 84 Thomson, Illinois 61285. Mating red milkweed beetles. The long, oblong leaves are light green and grow to about 8 inches long. While they do no harm to the plant, if a pod is covered in these insects it’s likely the seed inside is no longer viable and those pods should be avoided. Milkweed flower buds. (If I recall correctly, they displayed a split pod, shown below, to point out the pale interior; once it shows color, the pod is past eating.) url = url.replace( /#/, "" ); It had milkweed-like seed pods, but they were dangling from a vine climbing high into a tree. } Monarch caterpillars are eating machines; each one will each mow through about 20 leaves. However, even if the pods shown above weren't so spiny — that is, possibly too mature — the setting, by a busy roadside, suggested that I leave them be. Have you ever eaten milkweed? You can either stuff the whole pod, or cut them in half to create a half-shelled pod and simply spoon the stuffing on top. var url = document.URL; Milkweed Pods in Immature Stage “Silk” refers to the immature milkweed floss, before it has become fibrous and cottony. Look for milkweed bugs – red and black insects that eat milkweed seed. Harvesting the seed too soon. You can stuff them with any combination you like, but I prefer a mix of chopped vegetables and a cheese-like mozzarella or cream cheese. var query = window.location.search.substring(1); (Poisonous Plants of N.C. State) The flower buds, nectar-sweet flowers and seeds are also edible.” The pods range in size from 2 to 4 inches and grow in clusters of 4 to 8 pods. Sometimes I’ll add a little garlic. | West New Malaysia Restaurant ». Prior to the boiling water/ice-water shock, the seeds and silky floss need to be removed. Monarch butterflies also love milkweed pods too, as well as plenty of other parts of the plant. They’re typically a light green color and filled with a combination of seeds and soft, silky floss. ! Milkweeds are easy to harvest and easy to prepare. It’s ok to eat milkweed pods, really As most of us know, humans aren’t the only ones that enjoy milkweed. Then plant the seeds in a sunny place about 1/2" deep and water them for at least two weeks. If you plant tropical milkweed in your home landscape, do so with caution. As such, milkweed is critical for the survival of monarchs. But as I learned from the proprietors of Wild Gourmet Food, who would regularly make a five-hour drive from their Vermont foraging grounds to the market's home near the South Street Seaport, milkweed pods can be boiled and eaten whole. Young milkweed plant before flowering. Milkweed shoots show up in the Spring. Milkweed can spread aggressively through both seeds and rhizomes. Also, though, I wanted to point out that milkweed also hapoens to be the ONLY food for the monarch butterfly, so please harvest responsibly. Milkweed is most often thought of as the home and food source of monarch butterfly larvae. var e=document.createElement('script');e.setAttribute('type','text/javascript');e.setAttribute('charset','UTF-8');e.setAttribute('src','https://static.typepad.com/.shared//js/pinmarklet.js?r='+Math.random()*99999999);document.body.appendChild(e); The brown dried pod in the upper left is just beginning to split open — perfect to harvest the seed. All the fluff … They look similar to dogbane shoots which are very bitter, but dogbane has pointy leaves and a smooth surface while milkweed shoots have a velvety leaf like sage and rounded leaves. Once the floss fluffs out like the one in the lower left, it is harder to remove from the seed. } I’ll usually collect about 20 or so pods and head to the kitchen or camp. However, milkweed also hosts a wide variety of other insect species such as red milkweed beetles, milkweed aphids and a moth called the milkweed tussock (also known as the milkweed tiger moth). Step 3: Separate the milkweed seeds from their pods After thorough drying, they load the milkweed into a hammermill that crushes the pod and separates it from the hundreds of seeds it … When the seeds are completely white inside the pod, without any flecks of brown, they cook up like a cheese substitute. After about two months, your milkweed plant will be big enough for caterpillars to eat. Stuff the pods until they’re full, but not so much that you can’t close the seam in the side of the pod. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. The first time I came across honeyvine milkweed (Cynanchum laeve, family Apocynaceae), I had no idea of the plant's identity. If monarch eggs are laid on plants other than milkweed, the caterpillars cannot survive and ultimately starve to death. The diet of the large milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) includes seeds, so the presence of seed pods does not necessarily guarantee a bountiful crop the next growing season.The insect pictured above visited the plant on August 21. A variation is to sauté them in rendered bacon fat and then top them with crumbled bacon. Or the pods can be sautéed, I later learned, after my small supply had been exhausted. Pick pods as they turn brown, dry and mature. |, My first encounter with milkweed — my first encounter as an eater, that is — was at the much-missed, By RSS (updated whenever a new post is published). After you’ve chilled them for a few minutes in the ice water and you’ve removed the tough inner membrane, boil them again for 2 minutes. Here’s a sample recipe with the cheese blend and the proportions if you want to give it a try. In addition to supporting the monarch, milkweed species are important sources of nectar for dozens of other butterflies and numerous pollinating insects such as native bees and honey bees. I like to let … Patrick McShea works in the Education and Visitor Experience department of Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Drying. 24 to 30 large prepped milkweed pods, about 3 to 4 inches in length. Step 1: Harvest seed pod from milkweed plant. Without it, they cannot complete their life cycle and their populations decline. The adults eat milkweed leaves, buds, and flowers, and reduce the flow of the sticky milky latex (which could gum up their mouthparts) by severing leaf veins below their feeding site. We’re going to start with the pods because they’re in season now, and cover the spring shoots later. Stuff You’ll Need To Survive A Winter Power Outage, Elderberry Recipes That Will Keep You Healthy All Winter, Natural Rabbit Repellents For Your Garden. Serve warm or cold with your favorite dip, or eat them plain. It is also very sticky. These are a bit large and would have been better a week or so earlier. They are surprisingly tender and not bitter. They have numerous seeds and a stringy, silky floss inside of the pod. if ( permalink == url ) { } else { Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site! Most of the milkweed plant is edible including its leaves, stems, flowers and the seed pods. In order to remove the bitterness and the sap, they must be boiled in water and shocked in ice water, and then boiled and shocked again. Milkweed recipes came to mind again during a recent stroll in Staten Island. Give the pods the boiling water/ice-water treatment and chill them in the refrigerator. Liriomyza asclepiadis is the specific species of leaf miner that feeds on … Drain the leaves and the shoots and sauté them in butter or olive oil. Give them a try and who knows — you may really like them and try them again and again. Although milkweed plants have natural toxicity to repel pests and other things that may want to eat the plant, there are plenty of pests that’ll eat up the milkweed’s seeds, stalks, and leaves. Large pods up to 4 inches are the best for stuffing. The prepped pods also can be frozen and should be good for up to 3 months. Above: Common milkweed has a springtime lookalike, which is toxic: dogbane ( Apocynum cannabinum ). Tropical milkweed blooms during much of the year and reseeds freely. While it is hard to say what exact numbers the monarchs need, at least a couple dozen plants in any one area would be a minimum. Other Ways to Eat Milkweed Pods Unstuffed small pods. The seeds will have edges that appear like dry, dark brown colored paper. If you want to harvest milkweed to eat, do it only when there are large quantities of the plant present. Wash or Spray Pods with Water. If you have dogs, PLEASE do yourselves a favor and get rid of any milkweed pods you find!! Prep the pods the same way you would for baking, but break or cut them in half so they’re a half-shelled pod. Potentially, yes. There is also a tough, inner lining or membrane that needs to be removed. This is easy to do after the first boil and shock by gently pulling the tough membrane from the pod. Of course, the most common pest would be the milkweed bug, as these bugs are the focus on this pest control guide. They have an asparagus flavor note and the boiled and shocked leaves and stems also can be frozen for future use. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Salad or soup. Usually, you'll notice milkweed bugs crawling all over your plant, especially once the seed pods have burst open. New Year’s Resolution: Let’s Take Out Some Trash! Encounter as an eater, that is — was at the much-missed New Market... And shocked leaves and seed pods are quite bitter and the boiled and shocked and! 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