Dining with Delectable Daylilies
Many people enjoy eating daylilies as a regular part of their diet! Their taste is unique
and varies according to the recipes used. They contain more vitamin A, vitamin C and
protein than green beans, asparagus, or okra. The Chinese have used them for
centuries. On a personal note, I often pop some big juicy buds into a stir fry of
vegetables, or pick some freshly opened blooms to liven up a salad. You can also add
them to casseroles. I've heard some people say the red colours have a bitter taste,
but I haven't yet found this to be true with my own daylilies.
If a recipe calls for daylily blooms, pick them as early in the day as you can while they
are still fresh. Break off the petals and sepals at the base of the stem, wash gently in
cold water. It is also possible to use the wilted blooms, BUT NEVER more than one day
after they bloomed. Pick them while still fresh, wash and store covered for one day
(but not in the fridge.) When using buds, you may pick them as young as you like or
right up until 1-2 days before they open. Mature buds tend to open when they come
into contact with heat, but they will also continue to open if placed in the fridge overnight.
The taste will be the same, but if you want a firmer bud I suggest picking them a few days
before they are due to open. Before cooking the buds, trim off the stem and wash gently
in cold water. It's best to pat them dry before using them in frying, sauteing, or in a salad.
The blooms are terrific in tossed salads for both flavour and appearance. You can also
use the stamen and pistils from the centres - they have a nice crunchy texture, but you
may wish to remove the tips as they contain pollen.
Daylilies freeze as well as any other vegetable, so you can enjoy them throughout the
year. For ease of handling, buds are usually used in this way. Pick buds two days
before they are due to open. Wash them, then blanch for 2 minutes. Chill in cold water,
drain well, then place in freezer on a tray. When frozen, they can be stored in bags.