Tuesday, July 19, 2011

a side of daylilies please

The ubiquitous orange daylily.  Seen in almost every farm house's yard where I grew up.  They lined the old railroad tracks where I played as a kid; we called them tiger lilies though I don't know why and stomped over them on our quest for black caps.  They seemed to be everywhere except my own back yard.  That is, until this year. 

After discovering last summer through Hank Shaw's blog that these common daylilies are edible, I had to give them a try.  I found a patch of plants and cooked up a few buds and tubers and declared them delicious.  Color me surprised!  I figured they'd make a fine addition to our summer menu so I begged a patch of them off of my in-laws to plant in my own yard.  They were more than happy to let me dig up a load of them because as anyone who has these knows, they grow (and spread) like weeds.

Our lily patch is pretty small this year but we've been able to get a few harvests of buds so far.  In a year or two I should have enough that I can start thinning them out and then I'll be able to harvest the root tubers, which taste like fingerling potatoes.  For now we're enjoying our buds sauteed in butter with a little salt. 
Oh yum.
For me they taste a bit like a cross between a green bean and asparagus.  Cooked just briefly they have a nice texture too.  Seriously, did I mention, oh yum?

I recently read that you can pickle the buds, and I suppose they'd be good deep fried, (because like, what isn't?), or tossed in stir fry.  The whole plant is edible actually and I've already promised to deep fry the flowers for my son who loves, and has been deprived of this year, squash blossoms. 

I love having useful plants in the yard.  How about you?

per the Peterson Field Guide - Edible Wild Plants:
On identifying the edible day-lily "Note the unspotted tawny blossoms (open 1 day only) facing upward from the top of a leafless flowerstalk.  Basal leaves light green, long, swordlike.  Root a tangle of small elongated tubers." 


Fée des Bois said...

Woaw ! J'ajoute les pétales à mes salades depuis longtemps mais je n'avais pas pensé à cuisiner les boutons. Je vais l'essayer.


Anonymous said...

Now this is totally new for me. I didn't know! Thank you for sharing. In Italy we use only zucchini flowers: we stuff them with mozzarella and sometimes anchoves and fry them. They are delicious!

trish said...

my parents have a pretty big day-lily patch in their yard and my mom's cooked them too! :D

Tumus said...

OOO!! And lilies are among my favorites. I wonder though if thru the varieties of daylily's if each one has it's own unique flavor. I have several varieties of my own here at home and have to wonder about this. I know soil usually makes a difference in the taste of anything grown and eaten, so I can only assume that lily's of different sorts would taste different too. We actually have a lily farm not far from us too. Though I really don't have much more space to put in a harvesting batch....I COULD probably squeeze them in somewhere.

Are all varieties edible? What about orientals because I have loads of them as well *lol* I wonder if they'd be good with teriyaki? *badumdum~!* (i'll be here all night folks)

Marilyn said...

I discovered this fact years ago, but have never done it... (?)...I also heard that the Indians used every part of the plant, including weaving the leaves to fashion small objects...I will try this next year as all ours are gone by now...

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Fee de bois - the petals in salads sound wonderful! I hope you do try the buds, they're really tasty.

Thumbly - I've had squash blossoms stuffed with sausage but never cheese and I can't believe I haven't done that! It is now on my "must do" list. Thanks for the idea.

trish - that's cool! Did you like them?

Tumus - I DON'T think the oriental lilies are edible. In fact, I've read that true lilies (which daylilies are not) are poisonous. So enjoy the pretty lily just don't eat it. Stick to the orange common daylily.

Marilyn - we used to weave mats with the leaves as kids. I might have to do that with my own kids this year. :)

Mousy Brown said...

Wow - I have to check out the garden!

Scrapiana said...

That's amazing - I didn't know you could eat them. Yes, it puts a whole new complexion on a plant when you can use it: I really love that. Thanks for sharing, again, Lisa.

lynn bowes said...

They do look kind of 'green bean-y', don't they? While I have the old-fashioned orange against the barn, the rest I'm not willing to cook, unless Mother Nature does it for me this week. The orange ones will be 'third year leap' next summer and I'll be more willing to collect the unbloomed. Still, you inspire me to view my crops in a totally different way :: lynnie

Tara said...

Lisa, you do amaze me with your knowledge of edible plants. If you are ever in my neck of the woods, you are more than welcome to come dig up a patch of daylilies from our garden.

k said...

i think i remember hank's post - glad someone is trying it out. although since lilies in general (i think the pollen) make my throat feel like it's closing up, i probably won't try this. looks like you guys are enjoying them though!

Anonymous said...

I love lilies and have both orange and yellow day lilies. After reading your post, I am going to try some. Wonder if the buds can be steamed like asparagus or green beans?


Unknown said...

you never cease to amaze me. Day-lilies? Really? How inspiring. :)

P.S. I love those textured wooly stones.


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