Lotus…An Exotic Treasure: Part II

We’ve decided that it isn’t such a big deal that our three ducks are eating our lotus.  I have extra lotus growing in pots, so we’re not going to worry about it.   The lotus spreads fast and easily… and we kinda like our little Indian Runner ducks.  They are playful, amusing and ooooh so entertaining.

Our three ducks feasting on our lotus.

They dive down to get to the roots. Duck butts in the air is a frequent sight around here.

The lotus flower blooms for several days after which the petals fall off  leaving a seed pod for new growth.  The seed pod is frequently dried and used in dried or fresh flower arrangements. 

Our lotus flower in bloom.This is the lotus flower after the petals have fallen off. The lotus seeds are inside.

The round, raised areas have seeds inside.

These are green, unripe lotus seeds that have a rubbery texture.

The seeds can easily be dug out with your fingers when they are ripe.  They are tough to dig out when they are still green. My Vietnamese friend said that in Vietnam they eat them fresh as a snack when they are ripe. She dug the seeds out of one of the pods in my pond to show me.  It wasn’t a green pod like in the picture above, but it wasn’t a completely dried pod either.  It was “in-between”. She was able to easily pull the seeds out.  She didn’t chew up the seeds, she just sucked on the jelly that surrounded the seed. 
We tossed the seeds back in the pond to see if they’ll germinate.  The lotus seeds are a common food in Asian cuisine.  There are a lot more uses than what I’ve described.  Grayson and I plan to learn more about the uses of this ooooh so cool seed.

Pickled Indian lotus root.

Grayson and I couldn’t wait to try some lotus root (it’s actually a rhizome).  We just had to know what it tasted like.  We bought a  jar of pickled lotus root at a nearby Indian market.  When we took a bite, we both noticed that it had long “hairs”  in it.  At first I thought somebody’s stray hair got into the jar, but Grayson quickly realized that is what the lotus root is made of… hair-like strings.  It didn’t have any flavor.  I think it’s one of those foods that has to be cooked with insider knowledge to taste good, like tofu. 
I would love to try it again sometime, but next time I want to try it fresh, not pickled.  Fresh lotus root would be much larger than the pickled root that we bought.  I found a great website called Just Hungry that has  more information and a good recipe.  I also found a blog called Albany Eats that has some great pictures of fresh lotus root.

Pickled lotus root.

 The leaves of the lotus are edible as well.  In Asia, the leaves are picked when young.  They are boiled and eaten as a vegetable.

Lotus leaf with a water droplet. I took this picture at dusk. It really moved me.

Lotus turns brown and dies back in the cooler months.  It goes dormant and then pops up in the spring and summer when it’s warm.  It doesn’t require any removal when it turns brown unless you want to remove it completely. If you want to keep your lotus, I find that it’s best just to let it be when it starts to turn brown. 
American Lotus (Nelumbo lutea) is  native to Florida  and grows wild in many places.  The rhizomes were a source of food for the American Indians.  It is another species of lotus and is different from the Asian lotus (Nelumbo nucifera).  However, the whole plant of both species is edible.
Pickers used to harvest and sell the American lotus from Lake Okeechobee. An article from The Palm Beach Post in July, 1987 said that pickers would get $35 for a bin full of pods.  A pod that was dried as an ornament in a flower arrangement would get 50 cents each.  In Lake Okeechobee, the lotus shades out and kills the noxious hydrilla weed and it doesn’t jam boat propellers.  It also provides a ton of fish habitat. The plant that gives and… gives.
We love our beautiful lotus in our backyard water garden. 
Come grow with us!

13 Responses to “Lotus…An Exotic Treasure: Part II”

  1. Thanks for the great pictures. I am Chinese and have eaten a lot of lotus seed. But I never know how the lotus seeds that I ate relate to a beautiful lotus flower. Now I know. Thank you! We use dried lotus seed to make a desert soup with dried Lili petal and rock sugar. It’s good for you skin.

    • That soup sounds so yummy! (I just love to try foods like that.) I have learned so much from growing our own lotus. It really is a wonderful plant.

  2. Fabulous helpful website.
    Thanks a ton. I learned more by checking this website than by surfing the net for hours.
    Thanks again for the pictures, and explanation.

  3. First of all I would like to say terrific blog!
    I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t
    mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear
    your head prior to writing. I have had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my ideas out.
    I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first
    10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted simply just trying to figure out how to
    begin. Any suggestions or tips? Appreciate it!

    • Thank you for the compliment 🙂

      When I’m ready to write a blog post, I get my photos ready first and it helps me decide how to tell my story. I just start writing and then it flows. I have so much to say when I’m writing that I have to edit out quite a bit before I publish. I try to keep my reader interested.

  4. ah, with lutus roots, u can make soup.i get the fresh roots from local korean food store…..my recipe is: ribs, fresh lotus roots, garlic, salt, jujubee. boil pork rib, lotus root to tender, add other ingredients and simmer for 15. Lotus root doest not get softer after cooking, it still have the crunchy crunch when u bite into it…i like it that way. ehhehe

  5. Have you tried using the lotus leaves as a wrap for steamed rice and chicken?

  6. Juliene ta Says:

    Where can I buy these plant?

  7. sleekriver Says:

    Lotus leaves are not eaten as a vegetable as far as I know. We use dried lotus leaves to wrap food in Chinese cooking, like you would use aluminium foil. The difference is food is less likely to stick to lotus leaves. If you have the opportunity, go and try the delicious packs of savory glutinous rice (with pork or chicken) wrapped in lotus leaves at a yumcha/dimsum joint in good Chinese restaurants. Sometimes, they are served in a bowl from the steamer instead of being wrapped in lotus leaves. Lotus leaves do impart a nice subtle flavor to the food.

  8. Our lotus just bloomed too and within a high rise apartment. We grow them in a small wooden basin. https://www.facebook.com/cottonwalls/posts/1912975038929305

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