The most underappreciated weed – Dandelions!


I recently read a fellow bloggers article which sparked my childhood memories of this amazing and all to misunderstood plant.  From food to medicine to wine dandelions have myriad uses granting this usually intimidating menace a well-loved spot in the garden.

 If you have a lawn chances are you’ve spent countless hours in the spring and summer trying to rid yourself of these small yellow flowers. Well now you can give up the fight and embrace one of the most versatile and abundant plants thriving in even the most urban settings. 

 Dandelion greens are one of the seasons first arrivals of edible plants best when picked young they give a powerful punch of Vitamin A and C.  The entire plant root, flower, and stem are used.

The root once harvested is ground and used as a substitute for coffee if you’re in the mood for a change and is similar to chicory. To make this after harvesting the roots you will have to dry, chop, and roast them. After this you grind them and steep in boiling water.  It isn’t your typical cup of joe but when you stumble to the kitchen and find your out of coffee it beats running to the store in your curlers and it is said to be a good tonic for your liver.

The green leaves  boiled with wild onions if your camping makes for a quick easy meal or if you’re at home they are tasty sauted with onion, garlic, and a few chopped peppers. Or you can toss fresh washed greens in with any salad.

Dandelion wine is similarly easy to make using the recipe below variations of which can be found online. 

  • 3 qts dandelion flowers
  • 1 lb golden raisins
  • 1 gallon water
  • 3 lbs granulated sugar
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 orange
  • yeast and nutrientPick the flowers just before starting, so they’re fresh. You do not need to pick the petals off the flower heads, but the heads should be trimmed of any stalk. Put the flowers in a large bowl. Set aside 1 pint of water and bring the rest to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the dandelion flowers and cover tightly with cloth or plastic wrap. Leave for two days, stirring twice daily. Do not exceed this time. Pour flowers and water in large pot and bring to a low boil. Add the sugar and the peels (peel thinly and avoid any of the white pith) of the lemons and orange. Boil for one hour, then pour into a crock or plastic pail. Add the juice and pulp of the lemons and orange. Allow to stand until cool (70-75 degrees F.). Add yeast and yeast nutrient, cover, and put in a warm place for three days. Strain and pour into a secondary fermentation vessel (bottle or jug). Add the raisins and fit a fermentation trap to the vessel. Strain and rack after wine clears, adding reserved pint of water and any more required to top up. Leave until fermentation ceases completely, then rack again. Set aside 2 months and rack and bottle. This wine must age six months in the bottle before tasting, but will improve remarkably if allowed a year.

For more in-depth information read all about the wonderful dandelion at http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/dandel08.html  or  http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Dandelion and read why people should be more like dandelions at fellow wordpress blogger anita kellams page.

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