Although the day Lilly is not native to North America it is naturalized and grows wild almost anywhere. It’s a great source of food, the tubers, fresh spring greens and the blossoms are all edible. My most recent meal used tubers and spring greens, so that’s what I’ll be focusing on.
True lillies are toxic. Hemerocallis Fulva is not a true Lilly. Rather than growing from a single bulb, it has many tubers and sends runners underground to send up new shoots. Early spring is the best time to harvest greens and tubers. As with many other plants, over crowding can stress the plants and hinder growth. When going to harvest look to create breathing room by thinning clustered groups. Be sure to offer thanks to the Mother when harvesting any food or medicine.
After digging up a few I cut the green tops from the tubers and wash tubers in luke warm water. Its really just a personal preference. The greens, however, I do wash in cold water. I have found they tend to wilt if washed in warm water.
After washing the greens, wrap them in a damp paper towel and keep in the fridge if you won’t be using them right away. The tops can be used just like green onions, or fresh for salads and greens to add to tacos, or sandwiches. I also use them regularly in scrambled eggs.
Once the dirt is off your tubers you’ll notice a color variation between them. That’s normal, just an indication of age. Younger tubers have a more vibrant color to them. All are usable as long as they’re firm. The tubers have a surprisingly sweet flavor. They are EXTREMELY fiburous. My first time cooking them, I left them whole and just sauteed them. Delicious, but I was chewing for days😂. So either dice before cooking or be sure to have a knife handy when you sit down to eat.
Soup night in our house is when we have random leftovers to use up. So I decided to add a taste of spring with the day lilies.
Used the tubers in the stock and the spring shoots to garnish. The long cooking time of stock made the tubers texture similar to boiled potatoes.
Get out, enjoy the sunshine and happy harvesting!