While a few species of milkweeds are edible to humans some are poisonous, and all should be treated with respect. If you don’t know what you’re doing, do yourself a favor and don’t eat it. Considering some of these plants are poisonous, it is probably better to avoid them but if you know what you are looking for and prepare them properly then go for it. We DO NOT recommend you eat these plants raw and that you do process them properly.
The edible parts of the showy milkweed are the new shoots. Harvest them in the spring when they are less than 8 inches tall. The flowers and flower heads can also be harvested. As the plant matures the seed pods can be picked when they are about 1 inch long or less; as the pods increase in size, they also increase in bitterness and alkalinity.
Some say you can eat the root of the milkweed, others say you cannot. To be safe, dont eat it and go find a cactus to gnaw on.
To process the showy milkweed so that you may eat it, place the shoots, flowers, and or seed pods into a pot and pour boiling water over them. Return to a boil and then discard the water. Repeat this process two or three times. This will remove the toxins but even then it is only suggested you eat this plant in small quantities.
To eat the plant after processing, boil them again in fresh water for about 15 more minutes until they are tender. Drain and add seasoning to your liking or add to soups, eggs, or anything else you would like to mix them in.
My opinion... eat the eggs and leave the milkweed where it grows.