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70 responses to “Dining on Daylilies”

  1. Jocelyn

    The just-opened flowers are pretty fantastic in hot-pot situations: they look great on the platter with all the other fixins, and they retain their texture and crunch (not quite the right word, but precision of speech eludes me at this moment) even after bobbing around in the boiling broth for a while.

    Thanks for the great post!

  2. deana@lostpastremembered

    Oh Hank, if only I read this sooner. I can’t tell you how many bushels of those noxious tubers I have dumped into the compost… who knew they were edible.
    I can’t wait to try them now!!!

  3. allisen

    This. is. awesome. I just inherited an overgrown community garden plot covered with these guys. They were going in the compost, but now they’ll go in my stomach. Thanks!

  4. Jean

    I have a few daylilies in one corner of my vegetable garden. I only eat the tubers when I am thinning the plants. I use the one day old flowers in stir frys. That just means I share them with the bees. I like the color and the flavor. I keep a few flowering plants to bring in the bees. The spent flowers that are a little older reconstitute nicely in a little water.
    Day lilies are one of my favorites,

  5. Kevin

    Excellent topic. I had some overgrown specimens in our yard when we moved in, and I moved them into my ‘forest garden’ border around my property upon hearing they were edible. I’ve popped a few flowers with a resulting ‘meh’, but have not tried the buds nor the tubers. Mine aren’t wild, clearly – are the common garden variety similar [or identical for that matter]?

  6. Amy

    So glad you tried them first. I just wrote a short post about them last week and was wondering about how they tasted. We have a ton in our yard, but they’ve already faded for the year. Next year, they’ll be back, and with mo’ friends along for the ride. Butter, salt and pepper…who knew?

  7. Delights and Prejudices » News Feed: June 30

    […] Hank Shaw’s new favorite ingredient: daylilies. [Hunter Angler Gardener Cook] […]

  8. Dawn (KitchenTravels)

    Who knew daylilies were so delicious? I did! Well… sort of. I’ve never tried them, but put them on my “foraging list” after reading about them with my son in Jean Craighead George’s book “On the Far Side of the Mountain” (p.133). The main character, Sam, suggests moistening daylily buds in egg, rolling them in acorn flour, then frying.

    Hank, I can’t decide which version sounds better, yours or Sam’s, so I’ll have to try them both. 🙂 Holly – great photos, as always.

  9. Holly Heyser

    Dawn, that deepfried recipe sounds pretty amazing too. I don’t think you NEED to do that to make them taste good, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. Thanks re the photos!

  10. Hettar7

    I knew daylillies were edible, but i hadn’t gotten around to trying them yet. I’m glad I read your post though, because I would have just tried the flower portion, not the unopened buds. And I didn’t even know the tubers were edible. I love it when I discover new things and find more uses for items. Thanks for enlightening me. I’m looking forward to your book.

  11. Laura

    Verrrry interesting. I’ll wait until my plants have multiplied some more and then may give this a shot.
    Re: the tubers: I assume they need to be peeled. Do they peel easily? Knife or peeling tool?

  12. kindred spirit

    Nice! I recently found a recipe for pickling day lily buds in an Ortho Books Series from 1975. Now I’ll try them “in the raw” first.


    I just finished writing up two interesting posts: One of which was on… sugaring your edible flower blooms, while another was on: Hungry for tulips anyone? Therefore, you could only imagine how fascinated I was with your post. My backyard is swarming with Daylilies! You were a real delight to read and I certainly will follow you from now on. Great informational post along with gorgeous photos. Thank you.
    Flavourful wishes,

  14. Tamar@StarvingofftheLand

    Don’t knock the stalks — you just got to them too late. When the daylilies first come up in the spring (as early as the end of March here on Cape Cod, and maybe just little later on Cape Ann), the stalks are a first-class vegetable. They’ve got the mild scallion flavor you describe, but they’re tender and snappy. Steamed, with a little butter and maybe a grind of pepper, they’re astonishingly good.

  15. Carolina Rig

    I’ll second Tamar’s post…I’ve had some delicious stalks sauteed with lemon, butter, and pepper. Spring time only down here in NC. I’m digging for those tubers ASAP.

  16. Cecilia

    You made my heart sing when I read about your culinary adventures with hemerocallis. My Italian mother fed us the buds and tubers of the daylily when we were young, and our Illinois yard was overrun with the lilting orange blooms. When we were little kids, we thought it was fun to eat flowers–and other wild foraged foods–and did with abandon. That is, until neighborhood kiddos got wind of our gustatory inclinations and told us how weird we were. We caved and it wasn’t until I got older that I was able to appreciate forgotten food again. Thanks for your forays into true al fresco dining and discovery. Looking forward to your book.

  17. Jen

    I had no idea these were edible! I must try it!

  18. Ken albala

    Oh man, You make me homesick for the east coast. I used to nab daylilly buds from the NY Botanical Garden, not exactly wild, but a handful was so nice in a salad, cucumbery. I had half success with pickling them, but I’ll have to try it again some day.

  19. Peter

    You might like Linda’s post on the subject:

    We have them all over the place, though the deer will maul them if given a chance. I’m letting them spread so we’ll have enough to wantonly eat whenever we want.

  20. Restaurant Supply Dude

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Was up at the in-laws cabin in Potter County, PA (aka God’s Country), and we have day lillies everywhere. I had my 8 and 9-year-olds forage a big bag of buds on the night when it was just our family. We did them up with butter,salt, and pepper on a cast iron skillet above the fire pit. Fantastic! We all loved them and my two youngest kids were so proud of their foraging efforts. When the in-laws arrived, I offered a repeat performance but they declined due the slight chance of flatulence–not even after I pointed out most of the rest of the things we were eating had a higher chance. Oh well–their loss. We will definitely be making these again. And again–thanks!

  21. Tori

    I tried some buds of the multitudes of daylilies near my home. Delicious, however, I threw up the whole lot about 30 minutes later! I know they sometimes give upset tummies, but I wasn’t expecting such a violent reaction. Could they have had pesticides sprayed on them?

  22. Cindy

    Thank you for mentioning: Golden Needles. Now I know what you are talking about. Unfortunately in its dried form!. Now I wonder where/if I can find daylilies in The Netherlands.

    In ejoyed your blog very much. BUT I have problems with how you killed/hunt animals and sharks! I am a vegetrarian in heart. I have to skip those entries very quickly 🙁

  23. Amy

    Great post. Interesting to hear such rave reviews – I planted daylilies in my garden earlier in the year specifically because I knew they were edible & my garden is 100% edible (so they’re good for a bit of colour). There’s actually a daylily recipe book:
    It makes interesting reading if you can find a copy.

  24. Foraging with the Wildman – Good. Food. Stories.

    […] day, hence the name) can also be fried and eaten. Our friend Hank Shaw has a detailed article about cooking with daylilies over at Hunter Angler Gardener […]

  25. Epicuranoid

    Now I understand why the deer won’t leave them alone!

  26. Fragments From…15 June 11

    […] lamb’s quarters and oxalis gleanings from garden weeds. Also, if you haven’t done so, you should sample day lily buds–especially the feral yellow and orange ones. They are tender and delicious raw; I’m […]

  27. Canada Day on the Gorge | Really Good Writer | Food • Writing • Poetry

    […] medicinal or edible properties, like feverfew (good for migraines and many other ailments), day lilies (all parts edible) and borage (young leaves and flowers are said to taste like […]

  28. Ellen

    Heed the warning about trying a small amount first. I am part of the unlucky 5% who, although LOVED the taste, got very sick. Great way to prepare for a colonoscopy!

  29. The Dirt & Martinis Garden » Dirt and Martinis

    […] do have lots of flowers, but I do assure you I have some edibles too.  Here’s one that is both edible and ornamental, a daylily… […]

  30. End of January, it’s time to plan the garden! | Self Sustained Living Today

    […] I WILL be keeping some of these in other parts of my yard as all parts of the Common Daylily are edible and are featured in many chinese recipes. Here’s a wonderful article on the Common Daylilies Edibility: Dining on Daylilies […]

  31. Garrett

    My house is surrounded by day lilies and I can’t wait to try dome of these suggestions. I’m getting into foraging for wild edible food, and expanding my horizons of what’s “food” to beyond what’s marketed to me.

  32. A Wild Garden Salad with Tuscan Bean Soup and Rustic Crusty Bread | Herbs, Food & Health

    […] soup.  Then there are the edible flowers; violets, dandelion, broom, nasturtium, daylily (also buds and root bulbs), roses,  clover, the flowers from the mediterranean herbs and many […]

  33. - Let Children Play

    […] harvest them! You can sauté lillies, steam them , pickle them, or sprinkle them over a salad. Here is how Hank Shaw over at Hunter, Angler, Gardner Cook likes to prepare […]

  34. Introduction to Foraging : Don't Eat the Paintings

    […] Common Daylillies (NOT LILIES): The tubers and unopened blooms seem to be the best part, according to Hank Shaw. […]

  35. Jennifer

    I picked and sauteed some of the common orange daylily buds we have abundantly growing in our yard this evening. Yum! They remind the hubs and me of the taste of asparagus. We didn’t eat a whole lot. Hopefully we’ll be alright to eat more. They sure are a lot easier to grow than asparagus. If our tummies stay happy, I’ll harvest some tubers.

  36. 5 Incredible Edible Flowers to Taste Test With Your Kids at Bunchland

    […] Those stunning rusty flowers are everywhere just about now, and the entire plant is edible. (Try cooking the stems like you would asparagus.) While you can use the flower to decorate salads, try sauteeing the buds for a delicious treat.  The good people over at have a great how-to. […]

  37. Charlie H. Barrett

    I have tried the blossoms with lettuce and onions cut up. put in a large pan fry a lb. of bacon, put a half glass of water. with a t-spoon of vinegar in the pan with a little of the drippings while on the heat carefully. Don’t get steam burned. pour over the lettuce, blossoms, and onions slowly stirring them to wilt them. Goooooood but don’t eat to many. They can cause dihrea. I eat two small helpings, and it don’t bother me.
    Charlie H. Barrett

  38. cecil henry

    Smaller than SunChokes but when I got some for free I saw the tubers and was like I bet they are edible. Not feeling like I needed to look it up cause I was not tempted to eat it, I just planted them. Well let me tell you I will add them to my just in case garden that is little known food plants away from my main garden. just in case things get bad and the obvious gets raided. 😉

  39. Food Foraging Pedalpalooza Ride | PDXX Collective

    […] Daylilies […]

  40. Wild Daylily Gin & Tonics | A Taste of Morning

    […] Hunter Angler Gardener Cook […]

  41. A nonymous poster

    I pull the blooms off at the end of each day and eat them raw. They usually have a little bit of nectar in the bottom still.

  42. Annette

    I was wondering if you could freeze the buds and tubers??

  43. Annette

    I will! Thanks Hank!!

  44. minnie

    hmmm…just ate a bunch of tubers feel a little bloaty in my tummy, maybe i should have headed the warnings…i wonder if the pickles i made would cause same reaction

  45. dee

    on the same subject (that is, foraging wild food), you can also eat cattail tubers…if you are lucky enough to live near a pond with them growing. Just pull the whole plant out in the spring when they’re more tender…slice and boil and fry…or dry the tubers and grind into a flour/paste.

  46. Fireworks and Food Experiments | Life is best lived

    […] about 10 years old. I couldn’t quite work up the courage to eat them though until I read a post about them on Hank Shaw’s incredible blog. I had a whole backyard full of them, and now […]

  47. The Incredible Edible Flower?! Part 1 | The Fat Moon

    […] One blogger’s “Dining on Daylilies” […]

  48. "Wildman" Steve Brill

    Glad you had fun experimenting with daylilies. I like the flowers in soups and salads, and they’re especially attractive stuffed. As a vegan, I make a mock cottage cheese which I sweeten, season with herbs, and mix with apricots and nuts.

    You weren’t able to test the shoots, which are in season in late winter and early spring. They’re great raw, sautéed, stir-fried, in soups, casseroles, grains, or any savory dish, and they’re easy to collect in quantity.

    Anyone who wants to learn more about foraging is invited to visit my site,, or download my iPhone/iPad/Android app, Wild Edibles.

    Happy Foraging!

  49. Food for thought | rpetersen01

    […] neighbors.  That’s why I planted them; my own version of an edible land scape.  I eat the day lilies, too, but I’m the only one who does.  More for […]

  50. Foraging towards Heaven | whatwebethinking

    […] – many edible parts (come forth sometime and we can brew some dandelion wine!) Sassafras leaves, Day Lily flowers, Garlic Mustard, Rose Hips = edible, edible, edible, […]

  51. Terry Martine

    Although I had a million of these things in my yard, never thought of eating them. Thanks for the article

  52. Forage: Mulberry Monday | Wild Foragers Society

    […] Fingers crossed we might also encounter some Hemerocallis… […]

  53. lisa

    Iv’e used day lily fresh blooms in salads & they were fine… BUT the best thing ever to do with the blooms, is to dry them and use them for seasoning. Dried & ground, they add a wonderful mushroomy taste to any sauce gravy or marinade!

  54. tammy eddlemon

    got a yard full of these…cant wait till they bud! Got enough plants that pullin up a few for the tubers wont make a bit of difference. cant wait to try those as well. thanks a bunch!

  55. ethan+

    I tasted every part, it tasted like asperagus but it was good.

  56. Lindsay Huettman

    Hello Hank,
    I have just found you and your website…what an inspiration! I teach Ethnobotany, wild plant harvesting, nature connection and survival skills here in WA for the last 14 years and I LOVE your writing style…

    Very entertaining and great technical info! Thanks for your thorough article here-I would love to share it on my website (just building). My partner is an avid fisherman and hunter as well. Your books are going to be a part of our library ASAP.

    I hope we can join you some time in the future for one of your adventures.


  57. hanna castro

    I’ve known forever about daylilies being edible. When I was about 8 the roots and white parts of the stalk raw were my favorite snack. they taste like sugar snap peas shell, sweet but crisp.

  58. RLM McWilliams

    The buds are wonderful lightly steamed. The flavor is then similar to greenbeans – young, tender, juciy ones straight from a garden, with maybe a touch of pea flavor.
    Only the base of the stalks are really edible. They are best long before the daylily is in bud or flower.
    As someone else pointed out, the new shoots in late winter or early spring are also edible, with good flavor.
    In addition to checking for sensitivities, people should make sure that any plant they are considering consuming is growing in a wholesome environment. An isolated roadside or a yard that is not sprayed with chemicals should yeild daylilies that are safe to eat, but we would not eat anything growing beside a busy road, or near a ‘chemlawn’. Synthetic chemicals or heavy metals in the soil can cause reactions, or make people ill.
    And – though you mention that you are not talking about ‘Easter lilies’, Hemerocallis are not true lilies. To help avoid confusion, we always refer to them by their binomial or botanical name, Hemerocallis fulva. In casual conversation we avoid shortening their common name ‘daylily’ to just ‘lily’.
    By the way, some true lilies, ‘Lilium’, are poisonous, but some are edible. As ever, everyone should be certain about what they are eating before trying it!

  59. Carol

    So, no one mentions the (what looks like) little black “berries” on the Day lilies. Do I avoid those? Not sure what function they have on the lily. Any information?

  60. Time For Daylilies

    […] Dining On Daylilies […]

  61. Sue

    There are no “berries” on daylilies. Do the leaves of these “daylilies” come up from the ground (daylily) or off of a vertical stalk (lily)?

  62. Wednesday (Part 2) | quercuscommunity

    […] piece of foraged food to the list (and will be writing it up in the Wild Food section shortly. Day lily buds. We don’t have many lilies but after watching several school groups grab pieces for their […]

  63. Lily

    It has medicinal benefits according to Chinese medicine =) It’s used in hot and sour soup and special Chinese New Year dishes. I typically buy it in dry form from the grocery store, then rehydrate them in water. I’ll try planting some now!!

  64. Mary G

    Hi Hank. Thanks for this. I tried one blossom today for bkfst… before reading your post. It had bloomed YESTERDAY and was on its way out. Sauteed it with scrambles eggs, so it didn’t matter how it looked. I’d describe the taste as flowery and just so delicious. My tummy is doing a little rumble so we’ll see. If not problem, I will continue to harvest them on the second day and enjoy both the beauty of the first day and the tastiness of the second!

    PS Am not a creationist, but I when I marvel at the beauty and order of plants and all, how not to sing a hymn of praise? Blessings! Mary

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