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Did you know hostas were edible? Recently, I was listening to the Pioneering Today podcast on my way to work. In episode 82, she interviewed Angela England, author of the book Gardening Like a Ninja: A Guide to Sneaking Delicious Edibles into Your Landscape. The very first edible plant she mentioned were hostas. I was stunned! I also was a bit cautious, but after further research everything I read indicated that they are indeed edible.
They are described as tasting somewhere between asparagus and spinach and given that you can eat them at this stage, the asparagus comparison makes sense.
But apparently they’re good to eat when they are in the newly forming stage too when the leaves are just opening up. Angela mentioned pan-frying them with a little garlic; I bet that would be really good!
It was mentioned that this is a good way to keep your hosta plants in control without having to dig them up and separate. You only take from the outer edges, leaving the inner plant to grow up for the summer.
I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that hostas are edible. After all, our chickens have completely decimated the hosta plants in the north-east corner of our house. They like to sit under the arborvitae and in the window well … and oh, look! Someone left us a snack!
Now this information does come with a cautionary tale. You see, we had done some sampling of the hostas a week ago. Little Chick liked them so much I had to stop her from eating too much. Little Chick and Papa ended up lucky; Mama – not so much. It didn’t occur to me at that time that I should remember that we had chickens free-ranging and therefore running through the garden beds. I sampled a piece of hosta from a different section than Papa and Little Chick – an area more likely to have chickens wandering through. Last Sunday I woke up feeling tired, with a headache and stomach ache. I just figured I had over-done our outdoor activity the day before. By Sunday night, nausea and diarrhea had set in and stayed with me for 24 hours; for 48 hours I pretty much spent time in the bathroom, drank water, and slept. I made it to work on Wednesday – barely. Even now, a week later I still feel a bit “off”. All the symptoms and circumstances lead me to believe I just went through a 12-round fight with salmonella. So my caution is this: make sure you clean plants when you’re harvesting because you never know what might be on them 😛
That said, our hostas have really shot up over-night and are beyond where I want to try harvesting them. Maybe we’ll try again next year, because sampling them did taste good!
5 Replies to “Eat your hostas”
I had no idea! Thanks for sharing your experiences, good and not-so-good 😉
interesting! sorry about the chickens ruining the first experience – will have to share that here!
That is interesting. In my love of foraging I had never heard about eating hostas before. I am so sorry about the salmonella. That is no fun. My daughter Megan had that once after to much time spend with baby ducklings.
When we got our first batch of baby chicks 6 years ago, at least one neighbor girl ended up with salmonella. We didn’t think to enforce a “must wash hands before you leave” policy for those that came over to pet and hold the babies. We certainly did after that!
We got much stricter about hand washing too. 🙂