Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wild food upstate

When I was upstate a couple of weeks ago, I took my mom out foraging one morning. I was mostly looking for milkweed florets, but we also found some ripe blackcaps in a few sunny spots, as well as enough unripe ones to keep her in berries for weeks as they ripened.
We picked close to two pounds of milkweed florets, and that was only taking one or two from each plant. Lots of milkweed near her place, is what I'm saying. Much of it was on a hillside that it shared with densely growing thistles, but that's what long pants and hiking shoes and slow, deliberate movements are for.
I was surprised and pleased to find a big elderberry bush in full flower too, so we picked a bunch for elderflower fritters and for my mom to try her hand at putting up some elderflower champagne.
I sauteed about half of the milkweed to have with dinner and left the rest for her to have later. It was nice to have enough to eat my fill, rather than just having a taste. I decided that it tastes more like asparagus than anything else. Good stuff.

The elderflower fritters were ... less uniquely delicious. I read a couple a recipes and made a simple batter of flour, egg, milk and a little lemon juice. I dipped the flower heads in the batter and fried them in canola oil until they were brown.
They just tasted like fried dough. Neither of us could distinguish any flavor at all from the flowers, so we scrapped them and ate strawberries instead.

1 comment:

Martha said...

Last year I made french toast with elderflowers. I shook the flowers loose from the flowerhead and then dipped the bread that had already soaked in the egg/milk mixture in the elderflowers. Then I fried them up. The flavor was subtle, but nice.

I'm going to have to hunt for milkweed florets when I'm up in Rhode Island this weekend. Looks delicious!