While summer officially began yesterday, the weather has continued being moody and cool here in central Maryland. The warm(ish) months bring with them a lot of great foraging opportunities, which is particularly welcome for me. Deer and rabbits have plagued my garden this year, and the veggies I would normally be harvesting by now have been largely munched into oblivion.
(I suspect, though can’t prove, the “stay at home” orders this spring contributed to this problem of unwelcome garden visitors. Fewer cars on the road causing less roadkill, resulting in more critters wandering hungrily through suburban backyards.)
Daylilies are blooming everywhere. Luckily plants produce flowers for several weeks, allowing plenty of opportunity to harvest both flowers and flower buds. I’ve shared recipes for both in the past. Today I’m featuring daylily buds in their “natural” environment: Asian stir fry!
You’re probably sick of hearing this but: check for signs of herbicides before you harvest the daylilies! My favorite patch across the street appears to have been sprayed recently, judging by the strange curl to many of the stems, and the other plants drooping nearby. Because daylilies often grow along roadsides or farmers’ fields, they may be sprayed accidentally (or on purpose).
Luckily I have both tawny daylilies (Hemerocallis fulva) and yellow daylilies (Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus) growing in my yard. Both are edible, although the flower buds (and flowers) are smaller on the yellow ones.
When choosing daylily buds, give them a gentle squeeze to check the firmness. The larger buds, which are closer to flowering, will split slightly where the sepals and petals will eventually separate to form the flowers. They are all equally edible, but don’t hold up as well while cooking.
Dried day lily buds are also available at Asian grocery stores, because they are used in their cuisine. They are also called “golden needles”. Although the variety of daylily is different (Hemerocallis citrina or long yellow daylilies), local wild daylilies are a feasible substitute for recipes like hot and sour soup, or moo shu pork. However, today’s recipe really needs fresh buds!
A few background notes about the recipe:
- I have read conflicting information about the smoke point of sesame oil. For this reason, I used avocado oil for the actual cooking, and added a small amount of sesame oil near the end for flavor. If you prefer, you can use 1 Tbs sesame oil at the beginning, and omit the 1 tsp added for flavor at the end.
- In stir fries, I prefer to add garlic and ginger at the end, to prevent accidental burning.
- Adjust the amount of shiitake mushrooms in this recipe based on your own fungal preferences, or omit altogether.
And as always, remember to introduce new foods cautiously! Some people report tummy upset and digestive distress when eating daylilies.
Serves 4 as a side dish
- 8 ounces daylily buds
- 3-4 ounces fresh or rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 Tbs avocado oil (or other high-heat oil)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ginger, minced or grated
- 1 Tbs soy sauce, tamari (for gluten-free), or coconut aminos (for paleo and gluten-free)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Sesame seeds for topping
If using dried shiitake mushrooms, allow to soak in warm water 20 – 30 minutes, while prepping the other ingredients.
Heat avocado oil over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the daylily buds, and stir frequently for 3 – 4 minutes, until the buds begin to soften. Add soy sauce (or tamari or coconut aminos) and mushrooms, and continue to stir for another 3 or so minutes. Add sesame oil, garlic and ginger and cook for another minute, until the garlic and ginger are fragrant.
Serve topped with sesame seeds.