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Milkweed Flower Fritters, Gluten Free

Milkweed Flower Fritters

One of my favorite past times is walking through our pasture and figuring out what all the wild plants are that are growing and then finding out if they are edible or not.  This last walk, we found wild mint, hops, rosehips, and milk weed.

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca and Asclepias speciosa are the edible species we have here) is one of my favorite edible “weeds” (it really is only a weed if it’s growing where you don’t want it to grow). It’s a beautiful plant with large fragrant flowers and it grows everywhere here. I’m in milkweed heaven. We live fairly far north so our season is a little later than most of the US. If you still have milkweed in bloom, awesome. If not, sorry, save this for next year. If you are just past the bloom and have pods, check out this recipe from Common Sense Homesteading for sautéed milkweed pods. Once I find some pods, we’ll be making this. **Please make sure you identify the plant correctly, see note below.**

Cautions: Not all milk weed species are edible. Use only those species and plant parts specified as edible and cook them according to the directions given for each plant part. Until they are cooked, even the edible species of milkweed contain chemicals toxic to people and other mammals – never eat any part of milkweed raw… Furthermore, milkweed juice can irritate the skin; wear cloves for picking or wash hands thoroughly.

Make certain that you have the right plant – some poisonous plants, such as the dogbanes (Apocynum species), closely resemble the edible milkweeds, especially at the shoot stage. Unless confident that you can tell these plants apart…ask an expert for help. Your county extension service or local weed board can provide information about the specific plants in you area.

…Take care not to disturb monarch butterfly caterpillars that may be feeding on the milkweed leaves. In recent years the number of these butterflies has greatly decreased due to the destruction of wilderness areas in Mexico where they overwinter – it would be a shame to cause them harm in their summer range as well.

~“Wild Seasons: Gathering and Cooking Wild Plants of the Great Plains” by Kay Young

I made these fritters last year and my family has just been waiting and waiting for the flowers to bloom this summer. It’s a once a year treat that we relish. I actually hemmed and hawed about making them this year, I don’t like getting the fryer out when it’s so hot. My husband took the initiative this year and made them while I told him what to do. I guess I had forgotten how good they were. They are worth heating the kitchen up for. We make a big batch using at least 20 flowers. 4 boys can pack away a lot of fritters. The recipe cuts in half just fine if you don’t want to make so many.

Note: A reader pointed out to me that monarch butterflies depend on milkweed. Just use common sense and don’t pluck every flower you see. Save some for the butterflies. (Milkweed does reproduce through their roots as well as seeds produced from the flowers).

Fried Milkweed Flower Fritters

Fried Milkweed Flower Fritters

Ingredients

  • 2 egg whites
  • water
  • 1/2 cup flour (gluten free all-purpose flour works great)
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot flower (or cornstarch)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp sugar (we use sucanat)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle on finished fritters
  • Frying oil (I use lard, tallow or palm oil in my fryer)

Instructions

  1. Place 2 egg whites in a 2 cup measuring cup. Add enough water to make 2 cups. In a bowl, whisk until frothy.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Whisk in egg white mixture and stir until just blended.
  3. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to 8 hours.
  4. Be sure you flowers are from the edible varieties stated above Prepare milkweed flowers by rinsing in water, getting any bugs off. We used about 20 milkweed flowers. Cut stem off right up to the flower so none of the stem remains.
  5. Cut the flower in half by snipping it at the base.
  6. Lay on a towel to air dry.
  7. After the batter has sat for an hour or so, heat up oil to about 375F.
  8. Dip flowers in the batter and fry until browned.
  9. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  10. Sprinkle with a little sugar and cinnamon.
  11. Serve warm.
http://www.picklemetoo.com/2014/08/09/milkweed-flower-fritters-gluten-free/

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9 comments to Milkweed Flower Fritters, Gluten Free

  • Mama Marilyn

    I would like to share some information on Milkweed.

    Personally, I preserve and respect every precious plant and do not eat any part.
    Please research milkweed…
    Here is a link ~
    http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/

    • While I do appreciate the sentiment and love monarch butterflies, using a few flowers is perfectly fine. Milkweed reproduces not only by seed but also by mitosis. It sends out long horizontal roots and has no problem propagating with or without the flowers, especially in pastures like mine where no pesticides/herbicides are used. Using a few flowers out of the thousands in my pastures will do no harm. The butterflies come flocking and the milkweed still thrives every year.

  • Erica

    I’d love to try this out, and I’m positive the butterflies will have plenty of milkweed to lay eggs on. There is something satisfying about collecting wild foods and bringing them to the table at home. I wasn’t brave enough to try collecting stinging nettles this year, but we’ve been using a lot of dandelions between salads and food for our lizards.

  • Shelley

    Do you have the latin name for correct id here in Nz? Thanks

    • Good question! I’m glad you asked since after looking it up, I see not all milkweed is edible. The kind we have hear is called Asclepias syraiaca, also called Common Milkweed. Before consuming, make sure it is indeed edible.

  • Kent

    Please understand that all herbicides, fungicides,insecticides are pesticides. Pesticide is the parent of all the categories. I enjoyed the recipe, but when we ate young milkweed in spring we would always boil it twice, changing the water to remove the toxin. The one your suggesting may not have the toxin. Just make sure to correctly ID your plants no matter the species. Better alive and hungry then dead and full.

  • Caitie

    Hi Melanie! I tried ordering some fido jars from your link, but the link didn’t work. Do you still make a commission from them? If so, I would love to help you by ordering through you! Thanks for all the great info and recipes- I love your blog!

    • Hi Caitie, I don’t make a commission off of Fido jars so order from wherever is cheapest for you. Sur La Table and Crate and Barrel have great prices. Ross and TJ Maxx often carry them too.

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