Golden Needles Harvesting has started.

or in common terms, picking and drying lots and lots! of unopenned Day Lily flowers. Ah, the common, humble daylily that most of us call, tigerlily’s or Ditch Lily’s are so wonderful to have in the kitchen, the little root bulbs are good eating, with a taste like a mix between a regular an sweet potato, the greens are useable (but I don’t find them worth it) the open flowers can be added to salads for color or stuffed for little nibbles.

But the darling for me of this plant is the unopened flowers, the big ones are awesome for fresh eating, my favorite way is to just quick stirfry them with a little butter and lemon, or to cut them up and put them into a fresh veggie side dish.

A dozen large unopened tiger lily flowers cut into three bites, 6 large mushrooms, Garlic greens and 3 cups of fresh baby green pea’s, lightly stirfried together.

For fresh eating, I recommending picking the flower that is do to open tomorrow, and for drying, I pick both the flower to open tomorrow and the next biggest at about 2 to 3 inches in length, if you pick carefully, you are only taking the flower bud and not hurting the rest of the coming flowers or the plant itself.

We had a great picking session and both filled our big bowls within 20 min or so of picking.. now on to the drying trays. They will dry to a light brown color and will be used in different stirfries in winter, a couple more good pickings and I will have lots put away, with tons left over for freshing eating thoughout the summer. Happy Harvesting.

Do you havest daylily’s for fresh use, do you dry them for later use?  Have you ever bought them at the chinese market in fresh or dried form? Do you order them in your favorite dish? I love the sweet crunchy pop the fresh ones add to a dish.

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11 Responses to Golden Needles Harvesting has started.

  1. Pingback: How does your garden grow? | Just another Day on the Farm

  2. Deb W says:

    Hey Farmgal! You know, now that you mention it, I remember Dad doing this when I was a kid,; although I don’t remember what they tasted like. Hm,mm must’ve been when I was a teenager; )
    Anyway, sounds like free food now and there’s a bumper crop around here this year. Thanks for reminding me!

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  4. The only thing the deer don’t eat are the orange Lily’s, the deer eat all the other colour lily’s I have. I’m going to try drying them, thanks for sharing.

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  6. queen of string says:

    I hav never eaten these, but there are a few in our yard, so will try them this week! If they’re popular, I might grow a few more 🙂

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  8. Mark says:

    You write that you use dried flower buds in stir fries in winter. I assume you rehydrate them before you cook with them. Please describe the steps involved.

    • you are correct, I take out the amount of dried flowers I want, place them in a single layer in a tray, cover with water and let them sit in the fridge, I think the fastest I have ever done is a few hours, but normally I let them sit at least four hours. If I am adding them to soups or stews, I just chop and add and good them in. Once they are softened (not soft but softened) I drain leftover water and use them.

  9. Linda O’Leary says:

    Hello. I bought H. Citrina day lily because I love Chinese dishes using “golden needles”. I bought Citrina because they originate from China and grow wild on the mountainsides there. My dad was a cook who was born in China so I was always familiar with “golden needles”. I noticed in your picture that your day lily is not Citrina and it made me wonder if all day lilies can be harvested for cooking and whether hey all taste the same. The nice thing about Citrina is the length of the bud. It is very slender as well. Do you mind telling me what day lily you are harvesting and whether it tastes the same as the dried buds you can buy in Chinese groceries?
    Thank you!
    Linda O’Leary

    • Hi Linda, Very interesting question indeed. The daylily’s we are harvesting came over to N. A. many years ago and they are common’s called Ditch Lily’s.. I will have to do a bit of digging with my local garden club to see if we do in fact have a formal name that has been proven to these.. the roots, shoots and the lily’s are at good eating. I have local place I eat that uses the ones from the Chinese and I have never noticed a difference, I have talk to them and they tell me that mine have a deeper richer flavour when eaten fresh but I can’t say if that’s right or not, as I have never compared them fresh to each other and I have never made a dish with the two differnet and tried them side by side.. perhaps the next time I am in the big city, I will pick up a bag and do a test 🙂 Sorry I could not answer your question better then that!

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