Yes, you can eat that hosta!

One of my friends posted a photo of a hosta on social media. She said she didn’t plant it and had no idea what variety it was. Just so happens I did and told her it is an Abiqua Drinking Gourd. In case you’re wondering what they are, hostas are a perennial that comes in a myriad of shapes and colors, from almost white to chartreuse to blue (like the Abiqua Drinking Gourd). Their leaves can be long and pointed or fat and bumpy and be solid in color or stripped. There are hundreds - or maybe thousands of different hostas.

I don’t know the names of 99.9 percent of them but the ones I do know are my favorites.

I have a hosta bed in the back yard and each spring I wait impatiently for the first sighting of a tiny green leaf to break through winter’s gray and brown terrain.

Before moving next door into my mom’s house we had a hosta garden. When we made the move I had a landscaper move them. I loved my hostas so much I had each one identified on graph paper. Problem was, the landscaper didn’t give the paper to the guy digging up the plants so when I got home that evening I had a beautiful but discombobulated hosta garden. Some I remembered, many others I did not. Oh well...

Years ago I had a Praying Hands hosta. Its skinny leaves grow straight up and point to the sky. One year it disappeared - maybe a vole had it for dinner. I also know a few deer that love to make a salad out of certain ones. I suppose some taste better than others. Who knows.

So I’m searching the Internet for praying hands and it came to me: Wonder if we can eat them? I mean, I’ll eat just about anything as long as it’s not looking at me. I feverishly type, “Can you eat hostas” and I’ll be, there it is. The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association have an entire article about the edible shade plant. They say the Japanese have been enjoying “urui” for centuries.

They are a relative of asparagus and taste like lettuce or asparagus, which would make sense. So you know, they are toxic to cats and dogs but I’ve never seen either sniffing around them. The young leaves (old ones are bitter) can be fried, tossed into stir-fry and used like a sandwich wrap.  Can you imagine how beautiful a chicken wrap would be if it was  wrapped in a “Stained Glass” hosta? I’m giddy just thinking about it.

Alas, after all the research and pondering over the endless gastronomical possibilities this remarkable plant has to offer, I just don’t think I could snip a single blade. I’d rather enjoy their beauty in the ground than on my plate. Now I know why Ms. Doe is so fond of them.

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