Yucca as a giant asparagus

Asparagus is a quintessential perennial vegetable. But in all honesty, a fussy one. Unless it is a prime variety, has copious compost to fuel it, and at least modest sun, and little weed competition, its shoots are pretty slim.

I was excited then when I noticed some giant, asparagus-like shoots sprouting from a friend’s yucca.

Looks and function don’t always match, so I did some research with the shoot -which my friend happily let me remove.

I was initially wary of the saponins I know yucca are famous for. But found these are destroyed by heat, and that several sources labeled the shoots edible and -surprise! Just like a giant asparagus.

I sliced mine into 4 inch segments, sliced these lengthwise into quarter inch thick julienne. I left the peel on just to see if it would be tough.

Although unsure if the raw yucca would sit well on my stomach, I nibbled a slice and found it does taste good and has a pleasant crunch.

I sautéd the sliced yucca in clarified butter -no flavoring whatsoever. This was to really get an idea of the yucca’s flavor, but there are a number of vegetables we commonly eat which a little flavoring makes palatable.

So the slight bitterness I found in the yucca I think could easily be masked. Overall, I was very impressed with the rich sweetness I tasted. Very good, and very like asaparagus. The plateful I had no problems finishing.

The very tip had the most bitterness. Although it was quite tender and simultaneously rich with that asparagus flavor.

The prime portion was just below the tip, as far down as the winged armor still touched each other. The lowest portion was a tad fibrous, mostly along the skin, which was tough at the very bottom enough to remove when I prepare this again. I ate the soft inner portion and set them to the side. The upper skin I would probably leave on, but for particular eaters perhaps remove.

I did note that the thicker slices maintained a nice meaty texture while the thinner slices got tough. Yucca chips I do not recommend and would try thicker slices and perhaps roasting.

I have not grown this plant in the food forest yet, but have some open sunny places I am sure it would thrive.

I have seen yucca thriving and flowering with smaller shoots -still thicker than any asparagus I have seen -even in full shade around here under pine trees specifically. So the limits of this plant can be pushed far with good results.

I’ll update as I install my yucca patch in Mortal Tree and would love to hear if anyone else has tried preparing this huge stand in for asparagus!

14 comments

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    1. Interesting. The plant I harvested from my friend was planted 3 years ago. Shouldn’t be far off from having your own to try. I definitely look forward to hearing what you do with it, Helen!

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      1. Thank you, Luke. My climate will of course be different, which may account for its lack of shoots. To be honest, I’ve not seen them on any yuccas round here but I’ll keep my eye out now 😊

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  2. Always interesting to hear about the practicalities of eating/cookiing something less usual! I had heard Yucca flower shoots were edible and I know it grows pretty well around here in peoples gardens. Not yet on my planting list – I’ll have to find a spot for it now though!

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