How to Prep and Store Lily Bulb 'Yurine'

Yurine

What you see on the label at the Farmer's Market:
Kanji: ゆり根
Hiragana: ゆりね
Katakana: ユリネ
Seasonal Harvesting Period: Late Autumn to Winter

The Basics:

Yurine, or lily bulb, is an uncommon vegetable in Okinawa and countries outside of Asia. It is native to east Asia, but can be found anywhere in the world these days as a dried herb. It is more difficult to find a freshly grown bulb. It is more often seen in Chinese markets and is used in both traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. It has been used in herbal preparations and medicines for centuries. 

Yurine is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. Since second century BC, it has been used in medicinal ointments in Asia. The ancient Greeks and Romans also used lily bulbs for medicine and even decoration purposes. Today, it is still used for food, as an ornamental plant, and for medicinal uses in East Asia.

When looking to buy yurine at the market, pick one that is firm and fresh. Do not pick one that has any strange odor or feels too squishy and soft when you hold it. 

Nutritional Info:

1 Bulb: 79kcal (per bulb), vitamin C (5.6mg), vitamin E (0.32g), folate (48.51mg), manganese (0.6mg), magnesium (15.75g)

Common ailments it is helpful towards (with reference to traditional Chinese medicine): moisturizes the lungs, relieves cough from lung-dryness, clears heart-fire, tranquilizes the mind, promotes lung health, treats yin-deficiency of the heart which manifests as irritability, insomnia, dreaminess, palpitation and absent-mindedness, and promotes vital fluid and improves skin complexion

Modern research has found that lily bulbs contain a variety of substances that can contribute to overall health and well-being. In addition to proteins and starches, lily bulbs have small amounts of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and vitamins B1, B2 and C.

How to Wash and Cut:

Wash the outside of the bulb thoroughly. Lily bulbs grow inside the dirt like a carrot, but have many sections within the bulb that capture dirt during growth. Follow the instructions in the picture below to make sure you thoroughly clean out all the dirt.

Image Source: 'tsuji.ac. jp cooking school' 

How To Store:

Once cleaned and cut, yurine can be stored in the vegetable compartment or cool section in the fridge for a long while. It will need some moisture otherwise it will dry out. However, dried lily bulbs are more common than fresh ones, because of the rarity of obtaining a freshly grown one. Therefore, don't worry if your bulbs dry out, you can still use them in cooking. 

Whole bulbs can be stored in the vegetable compartment, as well, and also will need moisture to keep fresh. Bulbs are stored a long time this way by gardeners to plant later on.

The easiest way to consume yurine is to boil or fry the bulbs with meat dishes or soups. Be careful, if you cook it for too long, it will disintegrate and turn to mush in your dish!

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