Daylilies (Hemerocallis) species have been used for cooking for centuries. The Chinese have used all parts of the daylily to eat. The dried spent blossoms are the primary parts used in cooking. In China (Taiwan) there are acres of daylilies grown for cooking. The great diversity of daylily cultivars probably means that there is a large untapped resource of potential daylily cooking attributes to be discovered.

Note though that daylily buds can result in gastric distress in some people. It is possible too that there are daylily varieties that may be easily digestible for everyone.


Golden Needles,” a traditional ingredient in Chinese dishes, such as Hot and Sour Soup and Moo Shu, are actually sun-dried daylilies! Vast fields of daylilies, probably a species, are grown for harvest in Asian countries including China and Thailand. The buds are picked when colored, but unopened, and dried in the sun for about a week. You can harvest your own (use
the milder yellow varieties) and either sun-dry them or use a dehydrator. They may also be found in oriental markets. To use them, soak the dried flowers in hot water about ten minutes. Then pinch off the stem end, and cut in half if large. They add a chewy texture and are rich in carotene.
4 eggs
4 scallions, sliced
20 golden needles
1 small can bamboo shoots
1/2 pound snow pea pods, cut in half the long
1 medium carrot, cut into match-stick (julienne)
Substitutes: water chestnuts, bell peppers or
broccoli, all cut in comparable sized pieces, can
be used in place of any of the vegetables.
2 cloves minced garlic
2 Tablespoons grated or minced garlic
4 cups cooked rice
2-4 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
Heat the sesame oil in a 10-12 inch non-stick skillet or wok. Add eggs, spread over pan as thinly as possible. When done, but not brown, remove and slice into thin strips. Set aside. Heat canola oil until smoking. Add ginger and stir. After one minute add garlic, the vegetables, scallions and golden needles. Mix and stir-fry rice about three minutes. Lower
heat and cook until vegetables are done but crisp. Add rice, egg and soy sauce to taste, and mix until heated through. Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as an entree.
-Kristin Kearney-
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