Are daylily buds edible? How do you cook them? — F.P., Berlin, NH
The flower buds, flowers, leaves, and even roots of the daylily (Hemerocallis) are universally considered edible. But with any new food, it’s always prudent to try a small amount first in case your system reacts differently. Some people, for example, may have allergic reactions to raw daylily buds but are fine with cooked ones.
Chinese cooks have used daylilies in their cuisine for centuries (the flowers are sometimes used in hot-and-sour soup). Yellow-flowered types are sweetest, while darker flowers have a stronger flavor. Pick from plants that are free of pesticides, and wash everything before eating. Then steam, boil, saute, or fry. What a way to impress your friends with your horticultural versatility!
Want more information? Visit the American Hemerocallis Society Web site at: daylilies.org
R. Wayne Mezitt, Chairman, Weston Nurseries, Hopkinton, MA