Being beautiful is not the only advantage to the day lily. Bright, orange flowers make it a festive ornamental, but underneath each plant is a crop of small and highly edible tubers. In fact, believe it or not the whole plant is edible. They are a great addition to any organic garden or landscape.
You will find day lily tubers about 2 to 4 inches below the soil surface. The tubers are white, with a light brown skin, and crisp. They have the consistency of a raw potato but have a center core much like a carrot.
These tubers can be dug up any time of the year. The best way to harvest them is to loosen the soil around each plant and then dig up the roots with your hands. In this way you can find more tubers.
Follow each root down until you come to a tuber. Then break off the root just above the tuber. Each plant will yield up to ten tubers.
Don’t worry about digging up the plants. Since day lilies grow in clumps the removal of a few plants provides the needed thinning that will insure maximum growth.
Once you have gathered all the day lily tubers that you want, the next step is to head to the kitchen. To clean the tubers put them into a colander and run water through them. Then scrub them with a scrub brush to free of any clinging soil. Pat them dry, cut off the ends and remove small roots.
Day Lily tubers can be eaten with or without the skin but peeling seems to improve the flavor if you don’t like an earthy taste. So peel and wash again and they are ready to use.
Chilled and slivered, they make a great addition to a green salad. Boiled in salted water for 15 to 20 minutes they make a great cooked vegetable.
The bloom of the day lily can be washed and dipped in your favorite batter recipe and fried. Yum!
I hope that you will look at day lilies as a food source as well as a beautiful plant from now on and give them a try!