I have gone a little mad for milkweed this summer! You could have knocked me over when I first learned that it was edible. I have always known that Monarchs are dependent on milkweed for survival but I was dubious about eating it but no more, I am now a total convert. I have made milkweed frittata, a tempura of the blossoms and buds and now i have come to the pickled milkweed pods! They taste a bit like pickled ochre and have a caperberry like texture. Do not worry, you will not end up like Sylvester with a mouthful of fluff! The tiny pods get pickled when they are between one to two inches long and the fluff inside the pod is not really fully fluff yet. I have tried these out on friends and family and the consensus seems to be that they are surprisingly good.
So grab some milkweed pods before they get too big and get pickling.
Pickled Milk Weed Pods
4 cups of milkweed buds (between 1-2 inches in size)
5 cups raw apple cider vinegar
1/4-cup sugar in the raw
2 sprigs of fresh dill flower
1-tablespoon whole juniper berries
1/2 teaspoon crushed juniper berries (crush them with a mortar and pestle)
1 tablespoon of black pepper corns
3 tablespoons grey sea salt
To Make The Brine:
Add the spices and sugar to the 5 cups of vinegar
Heat to a boil in a non-reactive pot
Turn off and allow steeping for 20 minutes for the spices to infuse
In the mean time, clean and wash and de-stem the milkweed pods
Blanch the milkweed pods for 30 seconds and then plunge them into an ice bath
Place the blanched milkweed pods in two 4-cup sterilized mason or Weck jars.
After the brine has infused for 20 minutes or so, return it to the heat and bring it to a quick boil and turn off.
Remove the brine from the heat and slowly pour it over the milkweed pods.
The pickled milkweed pods will last a couple of weeks in your refrigerator.