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DAYLILIES ARE EDIBLE

Flowers and flower buds of daylilies are delicious and quickly prepared for eating. For culinary uses, the flowers are used in soups, meat dishes, and with noodles. Flowers are prepared by removing the basal end (ovary) and cutting the remainder into many small pieces. Flowers can be used for garnishing foods in somewhat the same way as mushrooms are employed. These flowers add substance, color, and pleasing flavors to foods. Fresh flowers are best for eating since some flavors are altered when they are preserved by drying and freezing.

Daylilies, known as Hemerocallis fulva by botanists, are naturalized throughout much of America. The orange colored blossoms are familiar sites along roadsides and abandoned home gardens during June and July. All cultivated daylilies are also edible.

Daylilies grow from seeds and from underground parts. In just a few years a single plant forms a large clump.

Even though this is an easily recognizable plant, very few people know that it is a valuable food plant. Flowers and buds are important as a vegetable in China and Japan. Most people who taste it like its subtle flavor.

If one wishes to make a hearty and easily prepared dish of food, one should consider harvesting fresh flowers and buds. Entire blossoms can be fried or sauteed in margarine, butter, or oil in just 5 minutes. Flowers should be dipped in a pancake or crepe type batter prior to frying. A favorite batter is made by mixing the following: 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup self rising flour, 1/2 tablespoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon oil.

Buds and flowers can be added during the last few minutes of cooking soups. These impart a gelatinous quality and delight ful flavor. Daylily flower soup can be made by adding 1 cup of fresh daylily flowers that have been cut into one inch pieces to 4 cups of chicken stock, 1/4 cup chopped onion, and 1 table spoon sliced mushrooms. This mixture should be boiled for 5 minutes. To vary the flavor of daylily soup, one can add a dash of basil, oregano, or another favorite herb or seasoning.

Fresh and day-old flowers are excellent for stir frying with other vegetables. Flowers can also be combined with all types of fruits and yellow salads.

All parts of the daylily plant are edible. Flowers, flower buds, tender leaves, and tubers can be boiled and buttered as Daylilies Are Edible a vegetable and added to salads. All plant materials are mildly flavored and add a great deal of interest to prepared foods.

A flowering stalk has many buds. A single plant continues to bloom for several weeks. Daylilies have been developed to bloom in the garden from late spring through early fall. Most types bloom during the summer. A small garden of daylilies provides an ample supply of fresh blooms.

Daylily flowers can be frozen for future use. The flowers should be rinsed in water and dried on a towel. The flowers should be arranged in a single layer on a tray, and then placed in a freezer. After the flowers freeze, they should be packed in an air tight container and kept frozen until they are used.

In China and Japan, flowers are dried for use during the winter months in soups. Day-old flowers are dried between two window screens that are located in full sun. Screens keep insects away and allow air to circulate and moisture to escape. Dried flowers are used in breads and soups.

Fruits of daylilies are also edible. Seedpods should be harvested within six days after the flower opens. After the six-day period, seedpods become tough and leathery. Young fruits can be cooked as a vegetable, added to salads, and pickled.

Boiled tubers have a pleasant flavor. Their flavor is similar to a blend of sweet corn and salsity. Tubers can be harvested from fall until early spring. After the tubers have been removed, the plant can be replanted. Only the newly formed tubers are edible. Year old tubers are tough and flabby, irregular in shape, dark colored, and have a spongy texture. Newly formed tubers are plump, smooth, and light colored. Tubers are easily peeled after they have been boiled in water for a few minutes. Tubers can be added to casseroles as a substitute for Irish potatoes.

Young leaves of daylilies are sweet and tender. They can be eaten raw in salads and cooked as a vegetable.

Daylily flowers can be collected anytime of the day. Fresh flowers are a delightful addition to salads, soups, and other dishes.

 
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