Have you ever noticed those exotic, almost desert-looking plants that seem to pop up out of nowhere and grow to be at least 5′ tall? I am talking about the Century plant. In my yard, here in Highland Park, IL, I have two volunteers that keep coming back each year. They each grow one or two big spikes that flower at the end of June, then make a mess when the flowers fall a few days later.
HOWEVER, A little over a year ago I was told the flowers were edible –a delicacy in some Central and South American countries. We’ve been eating them ever since. They are delicious! To me, they taste a little like artichokes –only more delicate. They also start to turn a pretty bright green when they’re sauted (See pic below).
Here is a pic of a vegtable saute I made from our garden for dinner tonight. I used 2 kinds of kale, chard, fresh basil, 1/2 a bulb onion (from the grocery store!), and the Century flowers. Note: the flowers take only seconds to cook. So if sauteing, add them at the very last minute and cook very lightly!
One other note, pick and use the flowers as soon as they open, as they are freshest at that moment. The flowering period is very brief –days. So this is a fleeting delight. Finally my disclaimer: always use your own judgement about eating anything, such as this, you’ve never tried before.
Summertime and the living is easy…and BOUNTIFUL here on the North Shore of Chicago!