Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Delicious Daylilies

My mother is responsible for my influence into the world of gardening with my inheritance of a small collection of gardening books from my grandmother who had a greenhouse in Osborne County in the early 70's. One of these prized treasures is The Forgotten Art of Flower Cookery by Leona Woodring Smith. Leona's book on using flowers in cooking contains over 200 tested recipes of special and unusual tastes raising new adventuresome pursuits in the kitchen.

Fairy Tale Pink

Surprising to me, I discovered a chapter on daylilies, which documents how the Chinese have enjoyed dried daylilies or golden needles for centuries. In China they are a cultivated cash crop, as here they grow abundantly in roadside ditches and are planted for their beauty. The book contains nine tested recipes using either the flower or bud. Guess what I'll be purchasing for my container garden next spring!

The flavor is described as similar to chestnut or beans with a touch of honey added. They are beneficial containing vitamins, minerals and are high in protein, almost as much as spinach.

Tip: The daylily is at its peak of sweetness the day after it blooms, but with an acrid taste the following day.

Happy Returns

Forget about the traditional vegetable garden and add daylilies for a splash of color. The tastiest varieties include yellow, orange and pastel blooms. Loma Vista will have these varieties to choose from for spring planting Chicago Princess, Fairy Tale Pink, Happy Returns, Hyperion, Joan Senior, Little Grapette, Mini Pearl, Mini Stella, Pandora's Box, Stella de Oro, and Strawberry Candy (pictured below).

Unless bitter pleases your palette, avoid cooking with the red varieties, i.e. Pardon Me and Stella in Red. Leave the flowers in the garden to enjoy.

The American Hemerocallis Society provides more information on daylilies at this link Click on Tasty Daylilies if edible flowers peak your interest and enjoy creating a delightful culinary experience with the recipe for buttered daylilies.
Sheila Balaun, Inventory and Customer Service, Loma Vista Nursery

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