Are Milk Thistles Edible?

  • Roots — Before they become too old and fibrous, the huge carrot-like taproots on the young plants can be cooked and eaten.
  • Leaves – the leaves can be cooked and eaten like spinach, but the spines should be removed beforehand.
  • Stems – the immature blossoms can be used to make sun tea; some people claim to eat them like artichokes, but given their small size, that seems like a lot of effort for a minimal result.
  • Mature milk – seeds The seeds of thistle are the most typically consumed portion of the plant. The ripe seeds of the milk thistle plant are, in our opinion, the best eating portion of the plant.

Can you eat milk thistles?

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a Mediterranean plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family.

The milky white veins on the leaves and the white sap they discharge when damaged give it its name. Purple blossoms adorn the plant (2).

Saint Mary’s Thistle, holy thistle, variegated thistle, and Scotch thistle are all names for milk thistle. The white veins on its leaves are thought to have sprung from a drop of the Virgin Mary’s breast milk that dropped on them, according to folklore (3).

Some individuals believe the plant’s milky sap and supposed connection to Mary’s milk can help boost breast milk production (4).

Milk thistle has also been utilized to treat liver and gallbladder problems throughout history. Its ability to protect against neurological illnesses, malignancies, diabetes, and heart disease has also been studied (1, 3).

Capsules, tablets, liquid extracts, and tea are all available forms of milk thistle. The seeds and, on occasion, the leaves of the plant are employed in these concoctions.

Milk thistle is a plant with white veins on its leaves that has been used for centuries to cure liver problems and boost breast milk production, among other things. It’s also available as oral pills and extracts, in addition to tea.

How do you cook milk thistle?

Milk thistle tea is available as a loose leaf tea in both fresh and dried forms. It’s also available as tea bags. To make the perfect cup of milk thistle tea, follow these guidelines.

1. Boil the water and add the milk thistle seeds, leaves, or tea bag.

2. Allow 20 minutes for the milk thistle tea to steep.

3. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and taste with milk or honey if desired. Enjoy!

What is the purpose of milk thistle?

Milk thistle is well-known for its liver-protective properties. People with liver damage from alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis, and even liver cancer frequently utilize it as a supplemental therapy ( 1 , 5 , 6 ).

Is milk thistle and Scottish thistle the same?

Cardus marianus, milk thistle, blessed milkthistle, Marian thistle, Mary thistle, Saint Mary’s thistle, Mediterranean milk thistle, variegated thistle, and Scotch thistle are all popular names for Silybum marianum (though not to be confused with Onopordum acanthium or Cirsium vulgare). This Asteraceae species is an annual or biennial flowering plant. The flowers of this common thistle are scarlet to purple, while the leaves are a lustrous pale green with white veins. It is now found all over the world, having originated in Southern Europe and spreading to Asia.

How do you identify milk thistle?

Milk thistle is a huge, unique thistle with white marbling on its gleaming green leaves. Flowerheads are vivid magenta or purple, with thick, fleshy bracts with spines extending from the flowerhead’s base. The spines on the leaves, stalks, and flowers are all stiff and sharp.

Can you make tea from milk thistle seeds?

Milk thistle is a medicinal plant, and its seeds have been used to cure severe cases of hepatitis and liver degeneration, with impressive results. Tea can be made from either the seeds or the leaves of the milk thistle plant. Because the seeds contain silymarin, the seeds have a greater therapeutic advantage than the leaves, but the leaves can still help with liver, gall bladder, and minor digestive issues.

How do you eat wild thistle?

In the Northeast, there are about a dozen wild plants known as thistles, and while most belong to several similar genera, they differ widely. Some people are tall, while others are short. The majority of the flowers are purple, but some are white or yellow. Some species thrive in dry, sunny pastures, while others thrive in swamps, and one even thrives in salt marshes. The thistles that fascinate me the most share three characteristics: a tight, cup-like flowerhead, spines, and edible components to satisfy the hungry forager.

To paraphrase a classic line, it may be difficult to define a thistle because of its diversity, but you recognize it when you step on it. Most people come into contact with thistles for the first time while walking barefoot through a grass or field. While many species of thistle are edible, I’ll focus on those belonging to the Cirsium genus, the most well-known of which being the bull thistle (C. vulgare). As is always the case, correct identification is critical. Cirsium thistles are biennials that grow a single tall stem with one to several purple “shaving brush” blooms in their second year after appearing as a rosette of long, hairy, spiny, and deeply lobed leaves in their first year.

When I go looking for thistles, I wear thick leather gloves and hunt for them along roadsides and abandoned land, where they grow in abundance. When the roots are full of stored food, they can be harvested early in the spring or late in the fall between the plant’s first and second years. If you have the patience to remove the spiky armor off the spiny flowerheads, you’ll find an edible heart. (The cultivated artichoke is a thistle belonging to the Cynara genus.) The long stem of the thistle, though, is my favorite portion to eat. After the fast-growing stem has bolted up but before it has hardened, there is a limited window in which to pick these, usually at the beginning of June and long before they flower. The best way to detect if it’s tender is to take the top of the stem and bend it with your gloved hand. Instead of being rigid, it should be bouncy and flexible.

I’ll put on my gloves and carefully cut the stems at the base after I’ve discovered them. Then I turn them upside down and slice the leaves away using a long, sharp knife. What’s left is a spiky, foot-long wand from which I scrape the spines and skin away with a knife held at a right angle to the stem’s length. If the leaves are large and soft enough, I may remove the petiole (leaf stalk) as well as the fleshy mid-rib, which can be peeled in the same way. The resulting soft interior is great raw and even better when lightly fried. The best thistle stalks have a mild flavor and are juicy and crunchy. Try them softly cooked with a pinch of salt or with pasta, as described in this dish.

Peasant Pasta

Cook the pasta, then drain it and set it aside. In a big saucepan, heat the oil. Toss in the onion. Cook until the liquid has turned transparent. Garlic and thistle should be added at this point. Cook for two minutes. 5 cans tomato paste + 5 cans tomato paste + 5 cans tomato paste + 5 cans tomato paste + 5 cans tomato paste + 5 Stir until the paste is completely dissolved. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the liquid is bubbling. Toss in the beans. Toss in the spaghetti. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.