The other day in the garden I noticed that the lily were up and fecund in their proliferation. Having to mow around the damn things all the time really got my goat.
Dialing into the “wayback” machine I remembered that one could eat of the lily, I decided to pluck a few pods and a few blossoms to try them myself. I carefully picked the choicest blossoms in full sun, any blossom that was wilted or looked otherwise “ugly” was skipped. I washed the blossoms and pods and took a nibble of this wild plant… It was delicious sort of a cross between a lettuce and a radish sort of well.. spicy, a spicy lettuce then. Next the pod. The same reaction! this was a fine tasting plant indeed! Each time the entire blossom or pod was eaten. I can just imagine it sprucing up a dandelion salad with its happy orange blossoms!
Stalking the wild lily stand..
On my way to work I noticed several patches of lily free standing in the wild along the roadside. These were back a bit from the road, but not hard to get to at all. They would be back far enough to not bear the brunt of the road crew and close enough to be readily picked without any discomfort.
If you run across “Posted” signs, invariably nowadays you will, take down the name and number of the owner. Give him or her a call and ask them if it would be alright to forage on their property. Usually trading garbage clean up for a little foraging will go along way. Try to start out with the benefit to the owner( cleanup ), then swing the conversation to your needs. Most of the time the owner will want to have the unsightly debris picked up at no cost to them, a true bonus for you.
Another great place to wander is on State Game Lands or Federal Forest Lands. Check with the state offices first to see if foraging without a permit is allowed, or if it isn’t see how much a foraging permit costs.
AS ALWAYS IF YOU ARE UNSURE OF IDENTIFICATION OF WILD PLANTS, ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION!
Day Lily Nutrition Facts
Day Lily (per 100g)
Vitamin A 3,000 I.U.
Vitamin C 88mg
Day lily buds, raw (per 100g)
Vitamin A 3,000 I.U.
Vitamin C 88mg
Cooking with wild edibles
Both the buds and the blossoms of day lilies are edible, a fact I regrettably learned only after I had dug out numerous flowering clusters encroaching on my lawn. But now I get a kick out of astonishing friends when I casually pluck a day lily “bean” from their backyard patch, and take a bite. Next thing you know, they’re inviting me to gather a handful, which I’m happy to add to my next stir-fry. And they’re happy to know that when the vivid flowers bloom, they will make a sweet-spicy bonus in the kitchen.
Day lilies are a common garden plant that have “gone wild.” They’re found throughout most parts of the United States from late spring through summer, often near sunny fields, roadsides and empty lots. Day lily flowers last only one day, hence their name. They bloom in the morning and wilt in the evening. But they are a prolific flower producer, often blooming for weeks on end.
The day lily plant is an edible flower that can be used both fresh and dried. The taste is somewhere between asparagus and green peas.
Buds are distinguished from the plant’s non-edible fruits by their layered interiors. Choose smallish buds that are just beginning to open and cook them as you would beans: boil and serve them with butter or add chilled, tender-cooked buds to salads. Or, if you happen upon a spicy batch (they’re typically mild-flavored, like beans or zucchini), stir-fry them with Asian flavors.
Day lily buds will keep in the refrigerator for several days, but the delicate flowers (trumpet-shaped blooms that grow in multiples on a leafless stalk) should be consumed the same day they are picked; they are very short-lived. You can add the petals to egg dishes, soups and salads, or dip whole flowers in batter and deep-fry them, as you would squash blossoms.
If you’re planning a hunt…
..check with the appropriate authority before setting out. Foraging restrictions vary on public lands, and on private property you must get the owner’s permission. Reference a reputable field guide book, preferably one that’s specific to your region, or apprentice with an experienced hunter. Never eat a wild plant you can’t positively identify. And please, don’t get greedy: pick only a portion of what you find, to allow the plants to replenish themselves for next year.
In case you can’t find enough in the wild or at the market, we’ve provided substitute ingredients for each recipe.
When you get home, take care to thoroughly clean your cache. Tender greens, especially, should be rinsed well under or in cold water and often require several washings. Dry them in cotton or paper towels and keep them chilled in plastic bags. This will help prevent loss of moisture and vitamins, but not for long–most wild greens decline after a couple of days.
If you’re new to a particular wild edible, make your first serving a small one. As with any food, allergic reactions are rare, but possible.
Finally, whether you gather, grow or purchase the wild foods of spring, get them now, for all too soon, they’ll be gone.
Nature’s bounty used wisely will never mutiny…
Self-sufficiency and Preparedness solutions recommended for you:
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Food for Freedom (If I want my family to survive, I need my own food reserve)
The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)