Daylilies for Dinner



Daylily BudsYes, you can eat every bit of these beautiful wild flowers.  This time of year, my biggest problem is deciding if I want to sacrifice the beauty of the garden or take part in delicious new recipe. I usually end up compromising and only picking a few at a time when I see new buds getting ready to take their place. My first experience was to showcase them in a salad. The leaves are very tender, and I find more flavorful than baby lettuces. After that, I was hooked. I only wish that they were in bloom and readily available all year long.

If you’d like to be bold and give them a try, do not forget to wash the flowers well before preparing and check for little ants and critters deep in the bud— they might also like to sample them. Also avoid using the daylilies from flower arrangements or commercial growers as they might have been sprayed with pesticides or preservatives. You want the unadulterated, wild stuff. With that said, here are a some inspiring ideas for eating daylilies.


  • The buds just starting to open are great for stir-frying. Add them to your favorite recipe or simply sauté them with s little coconut oil and garlic (as pictured). They make a wonderful side dish!
  • The buds are also great for stuffing! One of the most popular recipes is filling them with your favorite cream cheese. You might consider it a sweet or savory dish.
  • If you like deep-fried squash flowers, daylilies can be substituted.
  • Having company? A simple whole-flower garnish will surely dress up any dinner plate or platter.
  • The leaves and young stems are great in your favorite salad or just drizzled with a little balsamic vinaigrette.
  • I’ve also added the whole flower to several soups. Just a few petals on top make a great presentation.
  • Some people like to fry up the roots like mini-potatoes but I can’t vouch for that one yet. Let me know if you like them!
  • Daylilies make a beautiful addition to a fruit and cheese platter. What a conversation starter!
  • There are also a few dessert recipes online, however I feel the flavor of the daylily is subtle, and easily gets lost in a cake or sorbet. I feel stuffing them with a sweet filling might be the best way to keep them the star of the show.


Daylily have more protein and vitamin C than many green veggies, and they are rich in vitamin A. Their herbal properties are also said to be detoxifying.

It seems rare from what I’ve read, but some people can be allergic, so especially if you are sensitive to allergies, it’s recommended to just munch on a leaf first before diving right into your salad.

One other note before you get your basket ready for picking, wild daylilies don’t last long, and they don’t fare well in the refrigerator either. Consider picking only what you’ll use the same day.

If you have a fabulous daylily recipe, please share it here!





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