Seasonal Spotlight: Agave Flowers

You're probably familiar with agave nectar, but have you ever eaten agave flowers? We spotted some at the farmers' market the other day and learned that they can be eaten fresh, boiled, roasted, or fried.

Agave, also known as century plant, grows in the western and southwestern United States, Mexico, and South America. The succulents flower only once before dying, producing up to several pounds of tubular buds and blossoms. We're considering foraging for them, but given that the stalks can grow so high, it might be a bit tricky to get to the flowers!

According to the man we spoke to at the farmers' market, he prefers the unopened buds to ones that have already started to flower, and they are excellent boiled and eaten in salads. Other common preparation methods seem to be boiling the buds for 5-10 minutes, then mixing them into scrambled eggs or sautéeing them in butter or bacon fat. They can also be roasted or battered and fried. We haven't cooked with them yet, but eaten fresh they are crunchy and herbaceous with a spicy, slightly bitter tang.

Have you ever eaten agave buds or flowers?

More information:
Agave, from USDA
Agave, from Wikipedia

Related: Seasonal Spotlight: Yucca Flowers

(Images: 1: Flickr member nameless-profile licensed under Creative Commons, 2-3: Emily Ho, 4: Flickr member globetrotter1937 licensed under Creative Commons, 5: Flickr member spooky05 licensed under Creative Commons)

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