"Eat my dahlias?" she yelled, her face contorted with a look of horror as I innocently walked through the door proudly displaying a bowl of the tubers. "Well yeah hon, I read about it in Mother Earth a while back, remember? I told you all about it" I said with a sly grin. My wife, looking at me in utter disbelief, questioned my sanity and reminded me that we had enough roots and tubers scattered about and that perhaps I should focus my attention on them and leave the poor flower bulbs alone.
"And just how do you plan on eating them?" she demanded, shaking her head in obvious dissatisfaction. "Well dear, if you remember correctly, it was I that convinced you to plant them in the first place, that said, we will grate them raw into our salad tonight" I proclaimed with smug disregard for her flowery sensitivities. "No problem Mike, you go right ahead and try them just don't expect me to get sick along with you" she responded walking out of the kitchen. "Foolish man wants to eat flower bulbs does he, well go right ahead" I heard her mumble under her breath from the other room. Pushing my luck, I couldn't help but call out a gentle reminder "they are not bulbs sweetie, they're tubers."
Anyway, it went something like that. Well, perhaps that is "quite" a bit of an exaggeration and perhaps I am a bit foolish, but in the end we both tried and enjoyed the new found spicy but subtle flavor of grated dahlia that adorned our salads. Enjoyed might also be a bit of a stretch, let's just say we reveled in the fact that they were indeed edible. All dahlia tubers are edible and so are their flower petals, I did refrain from dining on the flowers being content to simply gaze upon their beauty. No doubt eating the flowers would have seen me booted out the door with suitcase in hand. You can only push a flower gardener so far before she snaps.
Now while I am certainly not going to make a habit out of eating dahlia tubers I suppose it is good to know that if times were tough a person can have their blooms and eat them too. Dahlias like sunchokes, scorzonera, salsify and endive roots contain high levels of inulin, a healthful dietary fiber. It takes a body some time to adapt to this as inulin does not readily break down in the stomach.
The inulin in these foods has it's benefits. It can help increase the absorption of calcium and is also considered a prebiotic, helping to stimulate the growth of bacteria in the digestive system. Which, while a good thing, can cause a bit of stomach discomfort to those who have not adequately adapted to inulin rich foods. So starting out with the consumption of a small portion of these foods might be a wise choice. Don't worry, you will know if you ate too many.:)
Here is a link to the article on edible dahlias in "Mother Earth News" -