Shh, don't tell anyone, but there's a little song that goes off inside my head when I'm eating flowers. It's the flower eating song! I like this song… as you may have noticed from my posts on Rose Petal Coconut Semifreddo, Dandelion Marmalade, and Lilac Scones.
I think it's the same song I used to sing when I was little and building elf castles in the woods. It's the song of magical things.
The first time someone told me daylilies are edible, I had a mini epiphany. I remember carefully chewing on the petals, taking in their flavour and marvelling that this common flower can not only be admired for its majestic beauty, but also eaten. (Possibly imparting magical flower kingdom superpowers… just possibly.)
The petals are delicious in salads and you can eat the young shoots of the plant, and even boil the tubers like potatoes! (I haven't tried those yet.)
But what I want to tell you about today are the buds… oh the buds. As delicious as asparagus, in my opinion. I love to sauté them in a little butter and garlic or make frittatas with them.
But dipped in an apple cider batter and deep-fried like this, they are a real treat.
Daylilies are so-called because they bloom for only one day. Hence why I was able to easily capture the blooming time lapses in this recipe video (waking up with the sunrise in order to catch them unfurling their elegant petals). And also hence why I feel a little less guilty, stealing future flowers, and taking some of the bees' food away from them. They are a prolific flower. But as with most wild foraging, it's good practice to pick sparingly, and not leave too visible of a dent or sign of your passage.
But if your backyard is bursting at the seams with daylilies, I'd say you can go to town. Have a daylily feast.
But before you go to town, a word of caution: daylilies are not actually "true lilies" and some true lilies (which grow from bulbs rather than a tuber) such as Easter lilies are toxic for humans (and animals too). So be sure you've properly identified the daylily. And as with any wild food you've never tasted before, it's a good idea to start with a tiny taste, and see if you have an adverse reaction such as an allergy or upset stomach.
I highly recommend eating these daylily fritters as a summertime campfire treat. You may even be able to forage for them around your camping site.
Whichever way you chose to prepare them, I hope you'll have a little taste and enjoy one of summertime's unusual culinary gifts.
To get my recipe for easy apple cider (or beer) battered daylily bud fritters, catch my post on PBS Food.