Seasonal Spotlight: Yucca Flowers

For years we lived among yucca plants, not realizing their pretty white blossoms were edible until one day someone knocked on our door, asking if he could harvest some of the flowers in our front yard. Since then we have only eaten them raw – they make gorgeous cake decorations! – but we are looking at ways to cook them this summer.

Yucca (not to be confused with yuca) is a shrub or tree native to dry regions in North, Central, and South America. The flowers, which bloom in spring and summer, are also known as flor de itabo or flor de izote in Spanish. The petals are crunchy and sweet with a faint artichoke flavor. (Most people avoid eating the centers, as they can taste bitter.)

Used raw, the blossoms make lovely garnishes for salads, desserts, and drinks. Here are a few recipes we've found for cooked yucca petals:

Yucca Flower Omelet, from Cooking Sessions
Picadillo de Flor de Itabo, from Monte Azul
Sauteed Yucca Flowers with Chipotle, from Eat the Weeds
Yucca Flower Soup and Yucca Hash, from American Indian Cooking

Have you ever eaten or foraged for yucca flowers?

More information:
Yucca, from USDA
Yucca, from Wikipedia

Related: A Roundup Of Wild And Foraged Foods

(Images: 1: Emily Ho, 2: Flickr member brewbooks licensed under Creative Commons, 3-5: Emily Ho)

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Shopping, Foraging, Herbs, Spring, Summer

Emily Ho is a Los Angeles-based writer, recipe developer, and educator on topics such as food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. She is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and Food Swap Network. Learn more at Roots & Marvel

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