Adding hostas to your landscape brings a host of benefits, but are hostas edible? These perennial plants will come back year after year with the same vigor, to uplift the landscape with its lush green foliage. Flower stalks may appear as well, adding an additional pop of color to the green background. With so many different varieties, every hosta plant brings its own flair to your yard with its range of leaf colors. For example, Hosta ‘Halcyon’ features a unique greenish-blue foliage and produces beautiful lilac flowers in late summers. While the Hosta ‘Frances Williams’ has variegated heart shaped blue leaves and lime green margins that produce white flowers with a lilac tint. It’s a lost culinary art, but some people do ask if hostas are edible. Find out more info below.
Can You Eat Hostas?
Many people wonder if you can eat hostas. If you think hostas are just an ornamental addition to your garden, that’s not entirely true! This special multi-purpose variety is as delicious as it is attractive! Strictly speaking, the entire plant is edible and you can even keep it in your vegetable garden.
The young shoots, that appear at springtime to the lilac flowers that come out towards the end of summers – you can cultivate hostas and eat whichever part of the plant that appeals to you!
However, it’s the shoots that become a popular addition to Japanese-inspired recipes. Slice them up and add them to fresh salads, or cook them in a variety of ways for some exciting recipes.
Although, if you plan on including them into your meals, make sure you grow the hostas in the right conditions. Are all hostas edible? The short answer is no. Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides should be avoided in edible plants to keep them safe for the family to consume.
How to Harvest Hosta Plants?
The young shoots of Hosta Elegans, hosta fortune, and all other edible hosta varieties appear during the growing season in early spring. That’s when you’ll be harvesting them. Cut out the small, curled up leaves close to ground level, just a couple of days after they emerge.
You’ll find them tender as long as the leaves are unfurled. As the leaves grow to a good size and begin opening up, the shoots start losing their tenderness, becoming harder and bitter day by day. If you want to enjoy the most tender shoots, don’t leave them too long in the ground.
Harvesting the young hostas doesn’t mean you’ve lost your ornamental plant for good. Make sure not to cut at ground level, or pull out the roots if you want the shade plant to regrow in the organic matter. The best practice is to cut out half the length of the shoot and leave the other half in place to grow. It will soon produce new sets of leaves that will grow into a plant to bloom in summers.
Tip: Common practice is to harvest the shoots early in the morning. That’s when the most juices will be concentrated in the tiny leaves.
How to Cook Hostas?
Hostas make popular edibles in Japanese cuisine. Hosta, or Urui, is a wild mountain vegetable in Japan and a hot favorite of many. When cooking hostas in their cuisine they use ingredients like soy sauce and sesame oil to bring the flavor out. Here’s how you can serve the different parts of the plants:
- Small shoots
The tiniest hosta shoots are very tender and are very similar to asparagus. This part is best eaten raw as part of salads or lightly sautéed in olive oil with added salt and pepper. The shoots work great as an added side dish or to sandwich wraps.
- Larger shoots
The larger shoots are usually boiled and served just like any other green vegetable. These are best served with parmesan cheese to give it a little salty hint to balance the dish out.
- Hosta Leaves
It’s not just the shoots that can be harvested and consumed. Leaves of the developed plant can also be picked to add to a range of different recipes. Pick the younger leaves because the larger ones are usually tougher and bitter. Stir fry and serve them just like the usual green vegetables or cook them as a substitute for spinach.
- Hosta Flower Buds
The flowers are also edible! The flowers that appear on your hosta plant in late summers are a perfect edible addition to any meal. They’ll make a colorful garnish on your stir-fries, salads, soups, and any other dish you want to make more appetizing.
Get creative and explore unique ways to consume your hostas. Get started with these recipes:
- Roasted hosta shoots
- Tempura hosta shoots
- Cheesy roasted hosta shoots
- Edible hosta tart
- Bacon-wrapped hostas
Are Hostas Poisonous to Dogs or Cats?
While these plants are edible for humans they are toxic to pets. These toxic plants can be harmful to your furry friend by causing vomiting and diarrhea. Don’t let your cat or dog anywhere near the plant because the entire plant including the leaves, flowers and roots are toxic for them to eat.
This incredible, easy to grow, dual-purpose plant makes the perfect addition to your landscape. If you already have one but thought it was just another ornamental, think again! Try out some of these recipes, and you’ll love your hostas even more!