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Eating Tulip Bulbs During World War II

Tulip Farmers World War Two Black And White Baskets Dutch Netherlands

Tulip bulbs can be eaten, but it is not common. Using bulbs as a source of food traces back to the winter of 1944-1945, deep into the second World War.

The situation in Amsterdam had grown hopeless, and in December a freeze started that would last for several months. Starvation became extremely common, and many perished. It was here, for the first time, that Tulip bulbs were eaten, along several other agricultural products not typically considered edible (such as sugar beets). 

Growers, unable to export their bulbs, began to sell them as food and market the high starch content. Doctors even began to provide recipes on how to prepare bulbs, such as:

  • Remove the brown skin and cut off the remnants of the roots
  • Cut the bulb in half from top to bottom, remove flower stem
  • Wash thoroughly to clear remaining soil
  • Cook for roughly thirty minutes, similar to potatoes.

Should you ever find yourself eating a Tulip bulb, you will find the taste similar to that of onions or potatoes!


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