Prickly Predicament – Pickled Thistle Flowers!

Eating thistle flowers sounds like a job for giraffes or some other tough tongued critters.
During the cold days of winter I enjoy eating these chewing treats – the flavor, to me, is wonderful.
The flowers should be harvested when most are still not blown, that is, most are still buds. You will find many are infested with spiders, aphids, spit bugs and a host of other insects. But don’t despair. There are many which are clean – those are for you, the others are for the bugs.
Put on a pair of thick gloves. I used a thick leather glove. Just pull off the bud clusters that you want. The point here is do not try to harvest the flower buds one at a time – too time consuming – and the small stems are okay to eat. Want fiber in your diet? You’ve got it.
I put all the buds and bud clusters into a plastic sieve with big holes and give a bang on the wall outside – so any spiders fall out. Spiders curl up into a ball when startled so this allows them to escape.
Next, wash with running water under the tap. Put in a pan. Add vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar), water, sugar, your favorite spices and seasonings and bring to a boil, allow to simmer a few minutes to soften the thistle buds and put into sterilized jars for your winter pleasure – in my humble opinion!
Some of my experiments have ended up in the compost heap but I have also discovered some pretty good wild treats! Either way the price is right.

Next time we will explore mother natures free greens – wild lettuce. Yum, yum.

Tim

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