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Cooking Corner - Eating Day Lilies

Written By: Ellen Kleven  |  Posted: Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

            According to the calendar, spring began almost a month and a half ago. It feels like it has taken forever to really come and stay though, especially compared to the beautiful weather we experienced last year at this time. Since January I've been dreaming about the produce I'll be able to grow, harvest, cook and put away this summer. So far the only thing I've been able to utilize from my small garden has been chives and multiplying onion, and even they have had a sluggish start to life. As I was sulking about the lack of fresh-from-the-land produce available, I remembered a small bit of information I had tucked away at some earlier point:  Daylilies (specifically hemerocallis fulva) can be eaten.

            In fact, every part of this original variety of daylily is edible. The shoots are tastiest in the spring, the buds and blossoms are excellent in the summer, and the roots (or tubers) have the best flavor in the fall. The cooking methods vary widely too; shoots are most commonly eaten fresh or sautéed, buds and blossoms are eaten fresh, stuffed, sautéed, and even battered and fried, tubers are eaten fresh (which I don't prefer), sautéed, boiled, and even mashed. The most popular edible parts of the daylily seem to be the buds and blossoms, made popular by the Chinese in several dishes (one is hot and sour soup).

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