In some parts of the world, milk thistle is usually seen as a noxious weed that has to be pulled from your garden area. But during the 16th Century, all parts of this plant were popular as food. Milk thistle contains silymarin, which helps in restoring damaged liver cells and protects the organ at the same time. The active component blocks toxins that can the liver. Given this amazing benefit to your liver, it is advised to take milk thistle. Other than taking milk thistle as an herbal remedy, you can eat it as foraged food to keep maintaining optimum liver health. However, the question is how to eat milk thistle. Here are some useful recommendations on how you can include milk thistle in your diet.
Surprisingly, milk thistle tastes good. The taste can be a cross between lettuce and spinach with its earthy, leafy, slight bitter flavor, which can be mixed perfectly with a vegetable salad. If cooked, it works as a substitute for spinach in any recipe.
There are many ways of eating milk thistle. In fact, all parts of the plant, from roots to flowers, have different cooking techniques assigned to them. New shoots can be boiled until they wilt and served with butter. You can even use the herb raw for a crunchy vegetable salad. The milk thistle stalks can be added to soups or stews or eaten raw like celery. Just peel the skin to remove the spines and soak them in water overnight to reduce bitterness. The leaves are usually sautéed like spinach. Just cut the edges with spines and leave it for a while to wilt it. Sautee the leaves with garlic and squeeze some lemons for added flavor. Even the milk thistle flower can be eaten like an artichoke. Boil the flowers, remove or slice the boiled skin to eat the fleshy matter inside. The seeds can also be ground, then sprinkled on salads or added to smoothies. The roots can be boiled until soft and served with butter.
Eating milk thistle can give you more nutrition than you can get from most green vegetables you buy in stores. It is because the nutritional value of vegetables decrease each day they’re left uneaten. Because milk thistle is a foraged food, on the other hand, it goes straight to your kitchen and eaten that same day. Milk thistle is a rich source of iron, manganese, phosphorous, selenium and zinc. Many people are put off from eating milk thistle because of the thorns but this isn’t a big issue. Thorn or spines on the sides of the leaves can be cut off with scissors. When cooking them, it softens enough that you can eat them just like spinach. You can also fry the leaves crispy like chips.
There are some important reminders on how to eat milk thistle. Be cautious if you have history of allergic reaction to daisy or ragweed because milk thistle produces similar allergy symptoms/signs. If you have a preexisting medical condition such as hypoglycemia or diabetes, using drugs and supplements for lowering blood sugar levels, better be cautious and ask your doctor about it first.