Forage For Your Supper
I love this time of year on the farm! Well, I guess the whole growing season pretty much rocks, but the first signs of life can be so sustaining. We have foraged dandelions, nettles, ramps and mushrooms for years. This year I read that you could consume hosta's! What!? I was shocked, and excited.
In Japan hosta's are called "Urui" and widely eaten. They are best harvested right when the spikes come out of the ground before the leaves unfurl, however they can be eaten once the leaves begin to open too. A great tip that I read was to harvest the young spears from around the perimeter of the plant (or if you are dividing, then at that time). Since hosta's have such a beautiful umbrella once fully bloomed, you don't want to be taking future leaves out of the middle of it! At the end of the season, the flowers can also be consumed and are great in salads. Another bonus? All hosta species are edible! As far as nutritional content, one study showed:
"From the results of the current study we can conclude that hosta's can be used as a regular dietary source of minerals. Among the studied species, H. alismifolia, H. sieboldii, H. nakaiana, H. longissima, H. montana can be considered excellent sources of some minerals and can be recommended for their K, Ca, Fe, P, Mg, Zn content. However, further study is needed for proximate and vitamin analysis. Hosta leaves with high minerals could be utilized for the fulfillment of human daily mineral requirements."
Last night we stir fried a small batch of hosta spears on high heat with just olive oil, salt and pepper. They were delicious! They have the consistency of asparagus and a mild asparagus like flavor as well. So, go out into your garden and check out your hosta plants; if you don't have any yet, go to your local garden center. They are shade loving and very inexpensive. They put on quite a beautiful show and can now be also added to your kitchen garden! Enjoy!
Do you forage? Share some of your foraging success recipes in the comments!!