During my morning walk I noticed a large number of milkweed shoots had popped up around our yard. This is a plant I’ve been meaning to try. It’s extremely common in our area and a very interesting plant. Depending on the time of year, you can eat the small shoots, the leaves, the unopened flower buds (like broccoli), and the seed pods (like okra).
On my way back to the house I pulled out my pocketknife and sliced a few shoots.
They are a bit like asparagus, so first I tried a simple sauté in cast iron. It wasn’t bitter at all, as some books had warned. Actually I found it to be one of the milder wild plants I’ve sampled (some have some extreme flavors!).
As I was munching it occurred to me the texture and bright, green flavor might be nice in a stir fry. So that’s what I did next.
Mushrooms, carrots, onions, peanuts, milkweed shoots, and a sauce made with soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger. It was delicious!
Some of the larger shoots were a bit toothsome. In the future I’ll stick with Euell Gibbons’ advice to take only shoots under eight inches. But overall, a delicious meal!
As I ate I pondered more ways to use this unusual but tasty plant. Not too many, of course, as I need to leave most of the milkweed for monarch butterflies.