Use Milk Thistle to make cheese

Milk thistle

& other cool things

Who knew that this sweet thorny little beauty could be used as a natural alternative to rennet in cheese making. I mean, it’s been used for centuries for that exact reason, but society does become very complacent. Simple information like this gets lost in translation or forgotten because it’s more work. It’s readily available literally at our fingertips. Just look in any field.  The flower head, picked just as the petals begin to open are used to curdle milk. The overall flavor is fresh lemons.

It’s considered an invasive species, having been brought over to North America in the 1600’s… as… you guessed it, a crop to make cheese. I find this plant quite beautiful to look at, but the uses go further. All the arial parts and roots are edible if you can get past its thorny protection. Artichokes are a type of thistle as well. Just as an FYI. The flower buds of any thistle, before opening, can be used in a similar manner. After the flowers are finished, the seeds can be roasted.

Interestingly enough, Canada thistle also has high levels of Sylmarin which has been proven to protect the liver from toxins. Such a crafty little plant. My fields are spotted with vibrant points of purply pink all season long. Having taken the last photos of thistle just a few weeks ago. They are readily available every season except wintertime.

I am always looking at any food preservation, preparation, and consumption in an ethical manner.

I absolutely love that something we visually take for granted, ecologically see as an aggressive weed switched to a plant that has incredible uses. Both medicinally and culinary. The word ‘Weed’ literally means unwanted, but with education, we can see that no plant is a weed.

Materia Medica to follow

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