Today I ate a Lily.
Sounds super weird right? Especially since my name is Lilli BUT I was sitting at my moms gathering information on edible weeds when I came across a page explaining the nutritional value of the Day Lily. I thought what? You can eat them and they aren’t bitter or poisonous? Sure enough I learned how good they actually are for you. They contain calcium, iron, thiamine riboflavin, niacin and potassium. They can cure arsenic effects and prevent soil erosion and brush fire since their roots have a high water content. The Day lily is a common garden plant that has become “wild”. Apart from being lovely, it is also extremely nutritious.
So as I’m reading about this edible day lily I look out into my mom’s yard and see a whole wild patch of them growing along her shed. I look at her and ask “Should we go eat one?” She jumped up giving me “the nod” and told me to put on my apron and we excitedly rushed out the door.
We head outside, it is unusually cool for August. Cloudy and damp, perfect for harvesting. I grab my shovel and proceed to dig up a single day lily. Massaging the soil from the roots, little earth worms fall down onto the ground (such a good sign for healthy soil). The smell of the raw earth overcoming my senses and the excitement of trying something new takes over my body. Mom grabbed a pail and we snipped the tubers from the root system, sliced away some stalk, cut off some green buds and picked the flower.
Immediately going to work inside she washed up the sauté pan, scrubbed the little tubers and sliced the stalk. I started boiling some water while I plucked the petals from the lily munching on them as I went. I was slightly skittish as the directions warned us to eat small amounts to make sure we don’t experience any type of negative symptoms. Our bodies aren’t used to consuming wild plants so they may cause a reaction to the unknown food source. We ate the white tubers raw first. They are sweet, juicy and crunchy- way better than carrots, and I love carrots. Then we sautéed the harder more yellow tubers with the stalk in butter and salt adding the flower buds later after they had boiled. Those flower buds were so tasty and wonderful, they are soft and sweet with an unusual texture.
Excited with our success we headed back outside in the light drizzle to pick some lambs quarters. My mom shared her memories of harvesting these little guys with her grandmother, my namesake, Lillian. We plucked them, washed them up and brought them inside to sauté. Oh my were these wonderful. Who knows how many times I have walked on or passed these supposed “weeds”. They have a nice texture and taste. They are extremely nutritious and can be frozen for winter use. They contain a plethora of antioxidants including but not limited too source of Niacin, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus. So if your ever wondering what’s in your back yard I urge you to dive deeper. Find out what you have in your reach. There is so much we don’t know about Mother Nature in our own back yards. Just think, if a zombie apocalypse ever does happen…. you could potentially have the knowledge to survive 😉 Wild edible weeds are all around us at all times, you could have some in your very own back yard.
“The Wild West” – Flash cards from the Lambs Shoppe