We have fallen out of love with this word, perhaps because its synonym edible has supplanted it. You can find examples widely distributed in older literature, since it has been in English since the seventeenth century.
This is from the Milwaukee Advertiser of May 1838: “The common or garden asparagus, is one of the luscious esculent vegetables, with which tables can be furnished during the spring and early part of the summer.” We might well expect to find it in Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management of 1861. She does not disappoint us: “Among esculent vegetables, the Lettuce, Salsify, Scorzonera, Cardoon, and Artichoke belong to the family.” It’s also in the Journals of Lewis and Clark, in which Meriwether Lewis notes on 30 April 1806: “Many of those plants produce those esculent roots which form a principal part of the subsistence of the natives.”
You can also turn it into a noun for something edible. This is from a publication of 1921 by the English seedsmen Sutton and Sons: “Although the Cardoon is not widely cultivated in this country, it is found in some of our best gardens, and is undoubtedly a wholesome esculent from which a skilful cook will present an excellent dish”.
Search World Wide Words
Recently added or updated
Lame duck; But and ben; Logomaniac; Type louse; Corium; Lie Doggo; Fewmet; Dingbat; Kibosh; Caucus; Oryzivorous; Kick the bucket; Satisficer; Beside oneself; Words of the Year 2015; Peradventure; Sconce; Orchidelirium; How’s your father; Goon; Emoji; Thank your mother for the rabbits; Nonplussed; Bob’s-a-dying; Methinks; Bill of goods.
Support World Wide Words!
Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.
Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select your preferred site and click Go!