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Copyright:  Mike Sillett


1. Intro
2. Materials
3. Kitchen Equipment
4. Procedure

Close up photo of Daylily

1. Intro

When was the last time you bought a can of asparagus? Were you shocked with the $3.00 + price per can? I can definitely state that I am. Especially in light of the fact that when I eat asparagus I want a good portion on my plate. One can of Jolly Green Giant just does not do. And one 'Bunch' of fresh asparagus from the produce section also does not.

Well you say, why not grow your own!

That's easier said than done. It takes a lot of time to prepare that asparagus bed. The soil has to be just right and then you only get that asparagus in the spring.

Here's my solution. Get a substitute that's free, grows untended practically everywhere, and has a growing season for a couple of months ( in our area - S.W Pa., from the end of June to the end of August ). Go out in the country and pick off the 'Buds' from Daylilies.

Foraging wild edibles by itself is one fun aspect. Doing it with family and/or friends, whether in the field or forest, or in the kitchen for final preparation, adds to that enjoyment.

Finally, getting something for nothing appeals to almost everyone and knowing that makes the product you gathered and preserved even more satisfying.

2. Materials

All you'll need for this venture is a stout bag, some kitchen utensils that you normally use when preparing asparagus and a source of Daylilies ( Hemerocallis fulva ) . That's it.

You know already what they look like. They grow practically everywhere and I would bet big bucks that if you drive a couple of miles in any direction you will see these growing along the roadsides.

photo showing a group of Daylilies growing at the edge of a field.

Here's a whole slew of Daylilies growing along the edge of a field.
There were enough here to equal about 15 pounds.

Just make sure that the flowers you are foraging are Daylilies. Not all lilies are edible! And some other flowers can look close to lilies.
Dig up a couple of plants and make sure they are growing from tubers NOT bulbs ( onion and garlic are well known examples of bulbs ).
What you want are little potato looking roots, slightly bigger than large fresh peanuts.

photo showing a group of Daylily tubers.

Here's a group of Daylily Tubers. You can see they look like, and are colored similar to, potatoes, just elongated a bit.
The tubers are also edible but that is a subject of another article.

3. Kitchen Equipment

A Steamer pot.
Any other pots and pans you normally use.

4. Procedure

What you want ( for this episode of Daylily cuisine, others episodes will be coming ) is the ' unopened flower buds '.
You can see in the photo what you will be gathering.

Close-up of  unpicked Daylily pods.

Here's what you will snip off the stem. Just use your fingernail and pinch/break off.

After a few minutes of breaking off pods you will see how easy this is AND how free.

This is what you will end up with.

Nice looking pods. Light green to yellowish or pinkish, about as thick as an asparagus stem and from one to three inches long.

Close-up of a bunch of picked Daylily pods

A nice bunch of Daylily pods. About 5 minutes of snipping.

Rinse off and use, just as if they were any other succulent veggy.

Here's one of the ways I like to prepare them.

Put in a steamer. Put about a half inch of water in the bottom and let her rip.

Daylily Pods getting ready to be steamed.

Daylilies ready to be steamed.

Put the lid on the steamer, open the petcock on the lid all the way and let the steam issue forth for about 4 minutes.

Photo of steaming Daylilies with petcock open.

A batch of Daylilies - steaming. Petcock on lid opened.

Check them after a bit.

I check them by eating one every now and then. It's much more rewarding that way rather than sticking them with a toothpick. When they are the consistency of cooked asparagus take them from the heat, put on a plate and add some Land-o-Lakes. OO-LA-LA.

This is the stage you want to get to.

showing steamed Daylilies with butter

A bunch of Daylilies - steamed, butter added.

Of course not everyone wants them cooked with butter added. Just remember. Do with these what you would otherwise do with asparagus.

My mother used to serve asparagus cold with diced sweet onion and drizzled in Italian dressing. That works great with these as well.

showing daylilies that were previously steamed, allowed to cool off and marinated in Italian Dressing and diced onions

A bunch of previously steamed daylilies that were allowed to cool off then marinated in a bit of Italian dressing and diced sweet onion.

Daylilies as Asparagus

Stay tuned for future additional episodes regarding the edible Daylily. ( Day Lily, Day Lilly, Day Lilies, Daylillies )

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