I love, love, love pickles! But my biggest pickle pet peeve is when they are mushy. I want a pickle that has a crisp texture. That's why I tend toward making refrigerator pickles. They are quick, easy, and since they require no boiling, they come out crisp every time!
A Bit About Daylilies
Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) are wonderful wild edibles that commonly grow in yards, gardens, fields, and boulevards. They have several edible parts: the root, the shoot, the flower bud, and the flower. However, they do require a few cautionary notes:
- There are many cultivars within the Hemerocallis genus, and there is some controversy over whether all of them are edible. If you want to play it safe, be sure to stick to Hemerocallis fulva, the common daylily.
- Not all lilies are edible! Don't assume you can eat it just because it has "lily" in the name. As with all wild edibles, make sure you have the correct plant!
- Some people experience allergic reactions to daylilies. As is recommended with any new food, try only a little bit at first, then wait a day to see if any allergic reactions appear.
But most importantly, have fun!
Zesty Daylily Pickles
This recipe requires unopened daylily flower buds. They should be about 1-2 inches long and greenish or yellowish in color, with no or few orange hues. They have a texture that is simultaneously crisp and mucilaginous, a bit like cucumbers. I would describe the taste as somewhat tomato-like, with spicy notes at the end. Serve these pickles with eggs or cheese, on tacos or sandwiches, or any other way you would use a pickle! Makes one pint.
- 2 cups day lily buds, washed and patted dry
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 ½ Tbsp red chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped (use some or all of the seeds for a spicy version)
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
In a small saucepan, stir together all ingredients except day lily buds and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes, stirring until salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Remove pickling liquid from heat and set aside.
Using a slotted spoon or fork, scoop garlic, black peppercorns, and red chili pepper into a sterilized glass pint jar. It's okay if you don't get every single little piece. The point is to make sure those spices continue to flavor the brine, not to drive you crazy! Pack day lily buds on top.
Ladle the hot brine into the jar, filling to within 1/4 inch of the top. If necessary, stick large chunks of a bland vegetable (like carrots or cabbage) on top to keep the buds submerged.
Cool to room temperature and screw lid onto jar. If using a metal lid, place a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap between the jar and lid, so the acidity of the brine doesn’t corrode the metal.
Place jarred buds in the refrigerator for 1-2 days to pickle. Buds should last about a month in the fridge.
We Can Pickle That
With pickles this easy to make, why not try your own? See what other wild edibles make a tasty refrigerator pickle too! Let me know what you discover by commenting below!