Yuccas are known for their long trunk and dark green spiky leaves. Their sleek look makes them a must-have in any plant collector’s living room.
During spring, you can also see these beauties bearing flowers and fruits. Now you might wonder: Are Yucca plants and flowers edible?—yes, they are!
Flor de izote, or flowers of the Izote (Yucca’s Spanish name), is, in fact, the national flower of El Salvador and has been an important ingredient in some of its cuisine.
When you hear about Yucca (yoohk-a), you might think of the other Yuca (yoo-ka). With a single-letter difference, most people interchange the two.
Yucas or Manihot Esculenta are the roots of a cassava plant. It’s a starchy root abundant in South America, Asia, and Africa. It’s closely related to taro, yam, and potato.
On the other hand, Yuccas are shrub-looking plants from the family of asparagus. They’re native to North America and have around forty species.
More than being an oriental plant, Yuccas are also very generous. If you live in the middle of nowhere and have these around, you’ll survive.
Yucca’s flowers, fruits, and newly sprouted stems are edible. Its leaves’ fibers are sturdy and can be used as ties.
From its prized flowers to its sweet fruit, there are many ways to prepare food from a Yucca plant. Check them out below:
During spring, people from Mexico as well as North and Central America enjoy seasonal cuisines like scrambled eggs, pupusas, and tacos with crisp Yucca flowers.
Before cooking any dish with the Yucca flower, it’s essential to prepare it well first. You can try the following steps:
- A flower picked too early or late would taste bitter. Pick flowers that are 2-3 days old.
- Give it a taste. A flower that’s just right would taste sweet, like asparagus or artichokes.
- Check if the flower is insect-free. Yucca flowers smell sweet and attract many insects like ants and moths. They could also leave larvae, so check carefully.
- Remove the center bulb, stamen, and pistils. These parts are bitter, so make sure to take them out.
- Wash the petals in running water, or you could soak them for an hour to make it critter-free.
- Air or towel dry to remove excess moisture.
After preparing the petals, you can put them into various dishes. Here are some quick dishes that use Yucca flowers:
Yucca flowers are sweet and crunchy that’s why some like it on their salads. Its texture works well with vegetable slices.
Just make sure that the petals are thoroughly cleaned and sliced thinly.
A Yucca flower has a cream color with a delicate greenish tint. Its color makes it an appetizing design on a fruit cocktail or a tropical-themed cupcake.
If you fancy a healthy snack then fried Yucca petals is for you. Yuccas are packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants that boost the immune system.
You can make this enjoyable snack by dipping petals in a regular batter and frying each piece for 2-3 minutes.
Yucca petals can also be chopped in small cuts to complement egg dishes. For your omelet, you could dump it directly into the egg before whisking.
You can also saute it with aromatics, like onions, garlic, and other ingredients, to make your omelet fancier.
However, raw Yuccas have saponin—a substance used to make soaps. It’s not poisonous but may cause reactions like stomach aches and dry mouth.
It’s essential to taste the yucca flowers before cooking them to know if you’re allergic. If you are, don’t worry. The saponin can be removed by boiling the petals for five minutes.
Make sure that the petals are covered with enough water when boiling too. This process could also soften the petals.
The Yucca fruit is sweet with many seeds inside.
Like the flower, you must ensure the fruit is ripe, or else it’ll taste bitter. Yucca fruits usually ripen around mid-fall.
To check if it’s ripe, you can press the fruit gently. If it’s soft enough, it’s ready to be eaten.
You can open and eat the insides as it is, or roast the fruit to make them more tender. Some caramelize or make it as jams.
You can also eat tender and newly sprouted stems. They’re usually cooked and incorporated into other ingredients like the petals. To prepare the stem, you can do the following:
- Wash the stems thoroughly
- Cut into smaller sizes
- Submerge in water and boil for 30 mins
- Once cooled down, you can start peeling the skin off the stem
The Yucca plants are one of nature’s wonders. Beyond its beauty, it also provides food through its flowers, stems, and fruits—all of which must be prepared thoroughly.
Its sturdy leaf fibers and trunks are great sources of knots and fire wood too.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.