Daylilies, Hemerocallis fulva, rank high on the list of delicious, wild treats available to foragers in July.
A day-lily blossom, as the plant’s common name suggests, last only one day. But not to worry – tomorrow, the plant will produce a blush of new flowers to take the place of yesterday’s spent ones. Both fresh and day-old flowers have uses, as do the unopened flower buds.
Pick and dry the old blossoms for use as a flavoring and thickener for soups and stews. These keep well and add a gourmet touch to any dish. Use the fresh flowers the same as squash or pumpkin blossoms, as a deep-fried treat.
It’s the buds that draw me, though. Cook when yet small and firm and boil until tender, for five minutes or more. These have a texture, at least to my way of thinking, similar to green beans. A slight peppery taste precludes the need for black pepper.
The day-lily season lasts about two weeks, quite long when compared to some of springtime’s ethereal treats. For me, blooming daylilies are a hallmark of summer, the high point of the season. Others, when contemplating the month of July, may think of swimming, picnics and barbeques, hiking or boating. Ask me what comes to mind regarding July and I’ll say, “daylilies.”