Last Updated - 10/15/09
Wild Or Gone-Wild Foragable Plants Commonly Found In Pennsylvania And Personally Eaten Regularly
Bear's Head Tooth
Brick Caps / Brick Tops
Chicken of the Woods
Hen of the Woods
Horn of Plenty
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Common Milkweed Pods and Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers
Common milkweed is plentiful here is southwestern Pennsylvania. I use the pods on a regular basis as a side vegetable from July to mid August.
You will see common milkweed growing in fields and edges of clearings here and there.
It gets 3 or 4 feet tall and nearing the top you will eventually see the formation of green seed follicles ( pods ) with soft prickles on the surfaces after the flowers are done.
The pods you want to collect for eating purposes should be firm and about the size I have in my hand.
Serendipity knows no schedule. You can miss out on a good idea for years. However, every now and then things will come together - if you're lucky.
One day near the end of July 2012 it just so happened that I had partially prepared hungarian hot peppers ( they were only cleaned of seed and sliced ) in a Tupperware container in the refrigerator. These were scheduled to be 'put up' in a canned Hungarian hot-wax banana pepper recipe I have been using for years.
Also in the refrigerator at the same time were some sliced Common Milkweed Pods that I had gathered a day or two before and blanched. They were scheduled to be 'put up' for later use. We use them as a side veggie so they were going to be 'put up' in portions in several small freezer bags.
As I opened a container looking to see which one had the partially prepared hot peppers in it I opened the one that had the milkweed pods. BANG.
That was it!
That was the 'Eureka Moment'.
Because I did not have very many hot peppers at the time it came to me right away that the peppers were plenty 'hot' to share their heat with the sliced milkweed pods, if I did not overdue it by adding too many milkweed pods to the recipe.
I figured that if I included some of the sliced pods with the peppers I could get several jars of canned hot peppers rather than just a couple.
The addition of the sliced milkweed pods to the sliced peppers increased the yield substantially so that I ended up with several jars.
The end product was as delicious as before the addition.
And of course the Common Milkweed Pods are free for the foraging.
Normally, the milkweed pods that we eat as a side dish with a meal is eaten with the immature white seed clump intact.
However, I did not want parts of the white seed clump in the finished canned hot peppers so I had to take some time to remove them all.
Once the sliced milkweed pods were mixed with the sliced peppers the whole batch was ready to be put in the sauce.
Finished product. And delicious. ----
Asclepias syriaca - Common Milkweed.
This plant can be foraged from late Spring to mid Summer - depending on elevation. Gather it when available and 'put up' some for later use. Freezing or canning works great.
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