Cooked Vegetables
As with cooked greens, use the freshest wild vegetables that are available. Wash them off with cold water, and cook them in as little water as possible for the shortest time necessary. Steaming is best, but this cannot be done with certain vegetables, such as Common Milkweed, because boiling in changes of water is necessary to remove the bitter flavor and mild toxin.

Plants in this guide that can be cooked as vegetables

Asclepiadaceae - The Milkweed Family
Common Milkweed

Boil young shoots* and flower buds for 15 minutes using several changes of water to rid the plant of its light toxin. Make the first few changes quickly, and be sure to use boiling water for each changes, as cold water will fix the bitter flavor.

Apiaceae - The Carrot Family
Queen Anne's Lace

First year roots can be cleaned and boiled.

Compositae - The Aster Family
Bull Thistle

Young stems can be cooked after peeling.

Common Burdock

Remove the rind from the roots of first-year plants and boil the roots for 30 minutes, using two changes of water.

Common Dandelion

Boil young flower buds from the center of the plant for several minutes.

Wild Lettuce

Young flower buds can be cooked, and will add a bitter flavor to other recipes.

Pinaceae - The Pine Family
White Pine

Young male cones can be boiled in emergencies.

Typhaceae - The Bulrush Family
Common Cattail

Young shoots* and stalks can be peeled and boiled for 15 minutes. Young flower stalks also can be boiled for a short time.


Except where specifically noted, all text, photographs, and drawings copyright Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni 2002. No part of this page may be reproduced without the express permission of the authors.