Monday, April 16, 2012

The Dandy Lion

Take a moment to appreciate the humble dandelion.  Here’s a plant that is so much more than a pesky weed.  It is a plant to be enjoyed.  I was surprised to learn that every part of this nature’s powerhouse is edible, at the very least usable.  While I’m still not convinced about the stems getting anywhere near my kitchen table, I have sampled both the flowers and the leaves and won’t hesitate to again.   

I remember my mother each spring gathering dandelion greens and preparing them like spinach.  Since I was never a fan of cooked spinach, I crinkled my nose and never considered taking a bite.  Times have changed.  I stood in the middle of the lawn last spring after reading an article about the benefits of dandelions and all the wonderful things one could do with them.  I plucked a dandelion blossom and nibbled.  Not bad.  I gathered a handful and brought them indoors and brewed a cup of tea.  Pretty good.  I gathered dandelion greens and added them to my salads.  This spring when the flowers bloomed, I scoured the lawn picking blossoms and made dandelion jelly.  Yum.  I’m not a winemaker, so I haven’t attempted making wine, though I know a number of people who have done so. 

Dandelion recipes are readily available on the Internet, which is where I obtained both recipes and inspiration.  So nibble on a leaf or flower, try adding the leaves to recipes as you would other greens, make some jelly, brew a cup of tea, try dandelion blossom fritters or add the petals to a muffin recipe.  Ah, the possibilities. 

Just one word of caution:  Don’t pick dandelions on the roadside or any grassy area where chemicals might have been applied.  You want your weeds organic.  Enjoy!

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