Yucca flowers are big, substantial, and really good to eat! I'm making some real comfort food here in my post. Come on in and join me!
I was inspired by a discussion with @galberto about eating yucca flowers. He does a lot of foraging in El Salvador, where yucca flowers are a traditional food. I hope he shares some traditional recipes with us when the yucca flowers come into bloom there.
In the meantime, I'll be posting a few ways that I've been enjoying yucca flowers - so stay tuned! Heres's one great meal I made this over the weekend. It's real comfort food and it's healthy comfort food, too! So good! Here's how I made my comforting yucca flower lunch.
Yucca Plants Are Easy To Identify
There are many kinds of Yuccas (Yucca spp.). They grow in the wild, but are common landscape ornamentals, too. Yuccas are all perennial, so when you find them or grow them, you will have an easy source of food for years!
When a yucca plant (Yucca spp.) is in flower, it's hard to confuse it with anything else. The year-round part of the plant can be a low clump of spiny-tipped, tough, strap leaves. Or it can be tall, like a columm. Or they can even be a branched, small tree, still with those leaves.
This is one of the low-growing yuccas, Yucca flaccida, growing down the street in my neighborhood. Most of the year, that clump of leaves just sits there, unnoticed. But it's impossible to ignore when it's in bloom! There is a lot of food on those flowerstalks!
I have a different species of Yucca in my yard, Yucca gloriosa. It grows in a column about 4 feet high, with the flowerstalk growing out of the top! The flowerstalk is another 4 feet tall, so it's too hard to stand on a ladder to pick the flowers. I use loppers and cut off the whole stalk to bring into the kitchen. My species of yucca doesn't have as many flowers on it, but there is still a lot of food there!
Yucca Flowers Are Easy to Process
Bringing a whole yucca flowerstalk into the kitchen can be challenge. They are big and take up the whole counter! But they are easy to process. You can see that the flowers are at different stages of maturity. Some are too old and withered. Others haven't even opened up yet. Each has their own use!
For my lunch, I'm using the thick petals from flowers in peak bloom. I can identify those flowers by looking at the reproductive parts in the middle of the flower. Look at how fresh those 6 white stamens are, circling the potential yucca fruit in the center. Those stamens get faded and limp as the flower matures.
It's quick to peel the flower petals off. For my lunch, I started with a dense 2-1/2 cups of whole flowers, then I peeled off the petals that you see here. I'll use the other parts, too, but not here - stay tuned!
Yucca Flowers Are Easy to Cook
Some species of Yucca have more bitter flower petals than others. And some can leave a scratchy feeling after eating, when they are raw -- it's not anything like the burning from hot peppers, but it might bother some folks. Just like some wild greens, I blanch my yucca flowers in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, to get ride of the bitterness in these petals.
I added the drained yucca petals to a skillet where I had carmelized half of an onion in olive oil. After cooking for a couple minutes, I added half of a homegrown tomato that I had in my freezer from last year's garden and let that cook down. Then I added 1 egg, beaten. I let that cook slowly, over a low heat, stirring every now and again - until the egg was well cooked.
Yucca Flowers Are Easy to Eat
Oh, yeah, yucca flowers cooked this way are easy to eat! It goes great with avocado with a dash of lime juice and wild sumac spice, frozen wild sweet cherries, and a hard cider! The yucca flower petals don't have a strong flavor in this dish, but they contribute to a rich flavor that goes well beyond scrambled eggs!
What Do You Think?
I hope you get a chance to eat yucca flowers sometime! If you do eat yucca flowers, I would sure like to read about it!
- Do yucca plants grow near you?
- Do you eat yucca flowers?
- Do you know any traditional recipes that use yucca flowers?
- Would you eat my yucca flower lunch?
I write about foraging because I believe that we can all have lives that are richer, more secure, more grounded, and more interesting by getting to know the plants and the land around us – in our yards, our parks, and our wilderness.
I would like Steemit to be the premier site for Foraging on the Internet! If you have any thoughts about foraging, or experiences to share, write a post and be sure to use the Foraging tag. And check out the @foraging-trail to see curated quality posts about foraging. Happy Foraging!
- Yucca (Yucca spp.)
- Weak-leaf yucca - Yucca flacida
- Soft-tipped yucca - Yucca gloriosa
- Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra)
- Wild sweet cherry (Prunus avium)