Inspired by Midwest Foraging: 115 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Burdock to Wild Peach by my P.F.F. (Plant Friend Forever), Lisa M. Rose of Burdock & Rose, my daughters and I went in search of fragrant milkweed blossom today for a sweet treat.
Blossoms from common milkweed (Asclepius syriaca) are in their full glory right now here in Michigan. You can see them along side the roads and in the open fields, a gorgeous purple wave. The scent of milkweed is sweet and intoxicating - and a favorite of the Monarch butterfly. The blossoms are deliciously edible. They can be used in stir fries, soups and other dishes.
But our quest was to collect blossoms to create a sweet floral syrup to add to seltzer water for a soda (or "pop" if you live in MI) alternative. And cocktails, of course.
In a field near our house we found a bounty of blossoms and quickly were able to collect enough for our syrup. As luck would have it, we also ran into a wild blackberry patch with ripe berries for the picking. After a little snacking, we packed up and headed home and quickly whipped up an easy sweet, refreshing foraged treat.
When foraging, for the safety of yourself and the plants, please take utmost care to educate yourself to properly identify plants and harvest them in a sustainable manner. This post is for informational and entertainment purposes only and not intended to be an educational resource on foraging.
MILKWEED BLOSSOM & BLACKBERRY FIZZ
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 cup loosely packed milkweed blossoms (individual blossoms separated from the milky stem - you can easily cut them off with kitchen shears)
1 cup water
Handful of blackberries
- Remove the individual blossoms from the milkweed blossom stem with kitchen shears and rinse thoroughly. There will be bugs, so take care to remove them.
- Place sugar, blossoms and water in a saucepan and cook over medium high heat until boiling. Boil and stir for 1 minute, crushing the blossoms, then remove from heat.
- Cool for 30 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh strainer.
- Place a handful of blackberries in a glass and crush them, followed by ice.
- Pour syrup and seltzer over ice and berries in equal amounts (or to taste).
- Add a sprig of mint, if desired, and enjoy! Remaining syrup can be kept in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to one month or frozen in ice cube trays for later use.
Find out more about local foraged delights in Midwest Foraging: 115 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Burdock to Wild Peach, available on Amazon. Lisa M. Rose covers where to find wild, seasonal edibles and how to identify them, as well as suggestions for ways to cook and prepare them for maximum taste and nutrition. It has quickly become our go-to resource for foraging fun. Check it out!