Last weekend I went to a forest gardening class taught by Dave Jacke. One of the plants he suggested for an edible perennial garden was the hosta. Errr wha?? Hosta? All records within a 50 mile radius came to a screeching halt the moment hosta escaped his lips.
I have to say I've been skipping over the aisles and aisles of hostas at the nursery for years. They're pretty enough, but I'm not interested in adding simply ornamental plants to my cart. I guess I've been wrong about "simply ornamental".
Through lots of searches and internet time suckage here's what I've gathered: hostas are a common food in Japan, called Urui or Yuki-urui. Look for Hosta montana or Hosta sieboldii--they're tender and less bitter than some of the other types. Prepare young hosta leaves like you would asparagus or substitute it for spinach.
New Hampshire Hostas (middle left) have both H. montana and H. sieboldii. I've never ordered from them, though, so I can't vouch for their quality, but might give them a try. Hostas just might be what I need to fill in the shadier parts of my garden that I can't fill with the average annual veggie crops.
Want to try a hosta recipe? Giboshi arekore has all the info you need to make Urui with Vinegar Mustard Miso Dressing (middle right). Dcarch on the SeedSavers forum gets really creative with his (her?) hosta recipes. The pictures (bottom) alone are enough to send me down the hosta aisles.
All this talk has my belly saying, "hello hosta!" Have you ever eaten hosta leaves? What do you think? Plant them for food or stick to spinach?
Renee Garner has a passion to make things grow, although her brownish thumb wants her to believe otherwise. When mud pies aren't on the menu, you can find her doodling the days away at Wolfie and the Sneak.