About pond lily and lotus lily

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Other Names: Yellow pond lily is also known as yellow water lily or spatterdock. Lotus lily is known as water chinquapin, American water lotus, pond nut or yellow nelumbo. They members of the water lily family.

How to recognize: Yellow pond lily is easy to recognize as it grows along the edges of lakes and ponds and its leaves float on the surface attached by long stems to fleshy ryzomes buried in the mud.

All species look similar and all have edible seeds.

Lotus lily is also aquatic with large round leaves raised above the water on stalks. The seeds are nut like and the size of acorns.

Where to find: Pond lilies are common throughout Canada but lotus lilies are rare and restricted to the Great lakes region [south to the tropics].

How to Use: Pond lily seeds are extracted from the pods and can be parched [cracked] in a hot frying pan until they open [kind of like popcorn]. The cracked seeds can be then eaten or ground into meal for breads, porridge and thickening soups. Lotus lily seed skins are easier to remove when the seeds are immature and the seeds can be eaten raw- flavor like chestnuts [chinquapin]. The skins of ripe seeds must be softened in hot water or parched over a fire. They can then be crushed and the shell bits winnowed out. The inner kernel can then be eaten as is or boiled, baked or roasted and ground.

Pond lily seeds were a staple of the Klammath Indians of California.

The rhizomes are edible and nutritious but bitter and unpalatable- survival food only.

Lotus lily root however is delicious when boiled and similar to sweet potato. The young leaf stalks and shoots make an acceptable pot herb.

Neither plants are true lilies but are related to the Oriental lotus the seeds and rootstock of which is an important food in southeast Asia and can be found in Chinese markets in Canadian cities.

Recipes: -1- Parched Pond Lily Seeds: In a cast iron frying pan, heat 1½ tb. veg. oil until bubbling. Add 2 cups of seeds, which should be cleaned of fruit pulp and sun dried, and cook slowly shaking the pan continuously to prevent burning. The seeds will swell and crack open. Sprinkle with salt and eat them as a snack or grind in a food grinder or between two flat stones for meal.

~2-Pond Lily Meal Porridge: Add 1 ts salt to 3 c water and bring to a rolling boil. Stir in 1 cup meal and boil hard for 15 min stirring constantly. Reduce heat and cook slowly 1 hr stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Serve with raisins, berries, milk or honey.

Leftovers can be cooled in a loaf pan, sliced and fried in bacon grease [ like polenta or corn meal mush].

~3- Roast Lotus Nuts: Soak 1 c seeds in hot water and remove outer shells. Mix seeds with 1 tb melted butter and ½ ts salt and spread on a cookie sheet; roast at 300 until browned about 1 hr. Serve hot or cold.

~4- Lotus Nut and Rice Pudding, Chinese Style: Soak ½ c seeds in hot water and remove outer shells. Wash and place in a saucepan with 4 c water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 1 hr. Wash 1 c glutinous rice and add it to the lotus seeds; simmer together till rice is cooked. Add 2 tb sugar and ½ ts ginger and serve hot as a pudding.

From: Edible Wild Fruits and Nuts of Canada, published by the National Museums of Canada, ISBN 0-660-00128-4

Posted by: Jim Weller

Submitted By JIM WELLER On 10-11-95

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