Bulb edibility

Lyndon Penner lyndonpenner@gmail.com
Sun, 10 Feb 2019 23:33:13 PST
Regarding edible bulbs...

as has already been discussed, Camassia bulbs are certainly edible. I have
tasted them both raw (a bit like water chestnuts) and cooked (sort of
savory; molasses-like, maybe? Not bad, anyway.) Lily bulbs have been eaten
in some parts of the world. The glacier lilies (Erythronium) are loved by
grizzly bears here in southern Alberta and apparently were once eaten by
people. I ate one of the blossoms once and it didn't taste like anything at
all and was totally devoid of flavor. One hopes the bulbs are better.

Fritillaria pudica is eaten by many small creatures here in southern
Alberta and was once gathered and eaten by people also. We have only a
single native species of Calochortus here in Alberta (Calochortus
apiculatus) and the bulbs were eaten in dire times by our indigenous
people- while edible, the bulbs are apparently very bitter and were eaten
mostly as famine food.

I've tasted dahlia tubers- slightly sweet, but not the next culinary marvel
by any means. Well, that was raw. Maybe when cooked they are better, like
potatoes. Begonia tubers I think are edible but those I've never tasted.
(Their flowers taste a little citrusy. Maybe the tubers are too.) Celeriac,
the turnip-rooted celery, I'm not sure it is a true bulb but it is
definitely delicious. Some of the sunflowers (Jerusalem artichoke comes to
mind) also produce edible rhizomes. (Or are those tubers? I can't recall.)
Balsam root (Balsamorrhiza) looks like a sunflower but isn't. It grows on
the windy hills here in southern Alberta, sometimes painting entire slopes
in gold in mid to late May. It produces a very large, starchy, tuberous
taproot that was highly prized as a vegetable by our First Nations people.
It had to be cooked first before it could be eaten but was apparently quite
delicious.
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