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Milkweed Pods

August 2, 2010

Now, here is an unusual thing to preserve…but so worth it.  We first realized the potential of stepping outside of our comfort zone and canning wild foods when we came upon Forbes Wild Foods at the One of a Kind Show in Toronto.  As artists we get to travel to a variety of shows each year and are fortunate to be exposed to a number of interesting people and food items.  Forbes does a lot of cool different foods and is well worth exploring.

I do recommend carefully researching the type of wild foods you are interested in preserving before going ahead with it because lots of varieties look similar but can be toxic.  Milkweed pods do have similar cousins but here in Muskoka, Ontario we are certain that we harvested only the Common eatable Milkweed Pods.  When harvesting wild foods it is also so important not to over harvest as this is a natural resource that you will want to be able to can for years to come.


  • 4 cups of milkweed pods ranging in size from 1.5″-3″
  • wash well and stem milkweed pods
  • 3/4 cups of fresh lemon juice
  • 1.25 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • tbsp of pickling salt
  • a few cloves of garlic to be removed before jarring
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • Mix ingredients together to dissolve
  • Bring to a boil
  • Add pods and bring back to a boil
  • Sterilize jars – we used 250mL and snaps
  • Pack milkweed pods into sterilized jars
  • laddle boiling brine into jars
  • clean rims and add snaps and lids
  • process in boiling hot water bath for 10 minutes

This is the first time that we have preserved these pods so our recipe made need to be tweeked…we will just have to wait to see!

Update:  They’re gRRReat!  Matt thinks they’re perfect but I want to cut back on the sugar slightly.  However, the consistency is excellent and the flavour wonderful.  Definitely, time well spent.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Laurent Cyr permalink
    December 5, 2010 7:36 pm

    Hi! I live in western quebec not far from ottawa. I love reading the recipes on your blog. I`m curious as to how the milkweed pods turned out. I have tons growing out here, and have read that they were edible. Yours is the first blog that I come across that gives a recipe on how to prepare and can them.

    • December 5, 2010 8:55 pm

      We really like them…my husband is shouting “delicious!” I think the recipe could have used a little less sugar but other than that they turned out well. We plan to do a whole lot more next year. They should be harvested in June when the pods are really small. And, it is important to not over harvest because you want them to be sustainable. If you have any other questions…just let us know.

  2. kelly permalink
    April 24, 2012 7:25 pm

    We love the early shoots eaten like asparagus…. even my anti-wild-edibles teenagers love them!

  3. August 7, 2012 10:25 pm

    Have you read about milkweed toxicity? Maybe the high heat/canning process dispells it but I thought milkweed was one of those that needed to be boiled and rinsed and boiled again? Have you been happily eating them for two years now?

    • August 9, 2012 8:13 am

      As with any foraging of wild plants it is best to do lots of research. We have not had any trouble with the pickled milkweed we canned…and may I note they were delicious. We are sad we don’t have time this year to can more.

    • Tonya permalink
      July 27, 2013 7:08 pm

      From what I understand it’s only the common milkweed that you want to use…any others (like swamp milkweed for example) are bitter and best to stay away from. You don’t have to do the double boil on common milkweed where it is not bitter

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