Before we begin, I would like to remind my beloved readers that Nature is powerful & is to be respected. One must be very clear of WHAT they are harvesting, HOW it was grown [near heavily trafficked roads? sprayed with pesticides?] & how they plan to USE it. There are many species of milkweed & I am focusing specifically on Common Milkweed, which, from stalk to flower to seed pod, is edible. Some species in this family, such as dogbane & butterfly weed, are NOT edible. It is crucial you are 100% sure of the ID of any plant before harvesting & using it. Also, it is important to only take what you will use & be sure not to overpick from any one plant or stand of plants in order to ensure their continued growth. Cheers!
The gorgeous, pink-purple flowers of the Common Milkweed are heaven scented & literally dripping with nectar. They are very sweet without being cloying, with notes very similar to strawberries. Their flavor lends itself nicely to making syrups, sorbets, jellies, & drinking shrubs. Milkweed flowers' natural sweetness makes them an ideal partner for tart & savory flavors. These beauties grow in large, round umbels with as many as 100 tiny flowers in a single bunch & a little goes a long way! They are delightful sprinkled over fish or salads, or served with cheeses. And they make fantastic floral syrups, which we will here explore in depth!
I still find my flowers loaded with flavor & have not noticed any decrease in taste caused by these quick rinses. Some people craft their syrup by boiling sugar & water, then adding the blossoms & steeping overnight. I prefer to do a slow solar infusion over 3 days to maximize extraction, & to let the flavors build & marry. In order to do this, I use citric acid as a modulator, technically making this a cordial not a syrup. Let me show you how--
2.5 cups sugar [or xylitol or monk fruit]
2 cups Water
1/2 tsp Citric Acid
3-4 Common Milkweed Flower Umbels
And there it is -- Gorgeous, delicious Milkweed Cordial! Use it to make amazing drinks, drizzle it over vanilla ice cream, or make a sorbet base with it! I hope you give it a try-- & please do share with me how you use it! For those of you locals wishing to taste it before making, I will be featuring Milkweed as my ‘Blooming Fresh’ option for a Brunch at Cupacity July 17th & for
After Hours Cocktail Evenings there too. Until next time, take care & don’t forget to #StopAndEatTheFlowers