Day Lily Delight - Tasteful Mondays

  • by Nicole Deponte

We are back in the garden once again, well it's Summer and our gardens are, literally, our sanctuaries right now. I want to talk about the Daylily. We used to spend the Summer on a little private beach in CT called Indian Neck. My grandparents would rent the same cottage for 30 of my living years every August. It was an opportunity to escape, be with extended family and meet kids from all over who, like us, were on vacation dying to get away from our parents. It was on such an adventure that I learned that you could eat Daylily petals. They tasted like lettuce, sweet and fresh, remaining one of my much used tidbits of information I like to share with anyone who'll listen.

Zip through time to know and on a curious whim I wanted to know more, recipes, is this a cultural cuisine, what else can you eat off the plant, who, what, where, tell me more?!

I was in for a "Bee Bom" like treat. The answer is yes and one word, "fritters".

"Daylilies are a popular staple in Asian cuisine and they are used both fresh and dried. Every part of the Daylily plant is edible: you can pluck the young shoots, boil the tubers like potatoes, or spruce up your salads with its bright orange petals." Find more here.

We love adding them to our pizza. 

Do not mistake TIGER LILIES for Daylily. So make sure you’ve properly identified them before eating them.

Here is a Recipe for Day Lily Fitters that looks amazing from Aube Giroux article for PBS, FOOD.

They have a printable version and you can also find it below. I'll be snapping up some more delicious ideas from her bog, Kitchen Vignettes.!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup ice cold hard apple cider (or bubbly drink of your choice such as beer or soda water)
  • 2 to 3 cups grapeseed oil for frying
  • 1 to 2 pounds of fresh daylily buds*

Directions

  1. In a small to medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together until fully mixed. Add 1 cup of cold apple cider (be sure it's ice cold as this will help your batter crisp up nicely) and gently whisk, being careful not to over-mix. A few lumps in the batter are ok and preferable to an over-mixed batter as you don't want the gluten to develop.
  2. In a small heavy skillet or saucepan, heat the grapeseed oil over medium heat. The oil should be just a little more than an inch deep and should reach a temperature of about 350 F to 375 F. I rarely take a temperature reading, instead I simply drop a bit of batter into the oil as a test. If it starts to sizzle and bubble right away, the oil is ready. It's important to make sure the oil is hot enough because hot oil prevents your batter from absorbing too much oil as it fries.
  3. Once your oil has reached temperature, grab your daylily buds by the stem and dip each one into the batter. It's ok for the green stem to stick out of the batter, it will fry up and be delicious to eat as well. I find working in small batches is best, no more than 5 fritters in the oil at a time to properly monitor them. Drop each battered bud into the oil carefully to avoid splashing, and allow it to fry for about 1 minute or until crisp and golden, then flip it on the other side using tongs and fry it for about another minute. Remove the fritter from the oil and place it on a sheet of paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
  4. Eat warm, with a sprinkle of good salt or your favorite dipping sauce.

Tips/Techniques

*A word of caution about daylilies: they are not to be confused with tiger lilies or commercial lily varieties, some of which can be toxic, so make sure you've properly identified them before eating them. As with any wild or foraged edible that you've never tasted before, it's always a good idea to start with a small amount to make sure don't have an adverse reaction such as an allergy or an upset stomach.

Yield: 8 people, as an appetizer or side dish

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