Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Taste test

The top photo is the newest fermentation. Notice there are no bubbles on the surface or in. The body of liquid. This obviously needs a few more days to ferment.
The bottom photo is the soda ready to go into the fridge. If you look closely, you can see bubbles not just at the surface, bot all through it. The smell is sweet and the taste pleasant, if somewhat cloying.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dandelion Soda

I know, it sounds weird, right? But when you have a big jar of kombucha scobys sitting on your kitchen counter and  2 gallons of kombucha tea brewing upstairs, then soda made from dandelions really isn't that strange.  Wait--what? Kombucha? Scobys? What the heck?  Sorry, that's another post.

Being an adventurous person, I came across this one day--Fermented Dandelion Soda I was immediately intrigued. The fam, not so much. They are accustomed to my weirdness, though, and for the most part are willing tasters. 

After gathering a bunch of dandelion flowers, I first soaked them in a bowl of water with a splash of vinegar to get rid of the dirt and possible bugs. The recipe says rinse them well, but I prefer to soak for a bit and then rinse; once you see all the dirt left behind in the bowl, you will want to soak the flowers first, too.

 Here are the flowers in the crock with boiling water. Doesn't look too tasty, does it?

Now covered with a pretty plate. Yours doesn't have to be pretty. Ugly plates are perfectly acceptable.

The soon-to-be-soda fermenting happily. Well, I'm happy, at least.

I started another batch yesterday, so hopefully the two batches going will be delicious!

Please try this recipe--it's easy and you might even like it!

Yay for dandelions!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Dandy Dandelions

I guess I don't really understand the hatred for dandelions--they are the first flower of spring and bring some much needed color after winter. Especially this past winter!  Bees love dandelions, and so do ants and ladybugs.  Granted, they aren't quite so pretty when they form their white seed heads and they're even less pretty as a naked stalk. Still, besides the fact that dandelions have the ability to take over the yard, much like the much-maligned clover (another favorite bee food), dandelions are one of the most beneficial plants out there.

Did you know that you can eat the entire plant--flower, stem, leaves, root?  Just last week the kids and I ate dandelion flower fritters with our supper. All pronounced them tasty.  Of course, anything dipped in batter and fried is going to taste good, right? Still, it's definitely a dish we'll have again.

The leaves are tasty sautéed in coconut oil with onions and broccoli. Alas, the family wasn't too keen on partaking of the greens, so they were all mine.

Another thing I've done with the leaves is an infusion.  Place desired amount of leaves in a jar and cover with boiling water. Cap and let sit overnight. In the morning, strain out leaves and drink hot or cold, adding honey (lots!) to taste. I just now remembered that I've not strained mine from last night; it might be undrinkable. Darn it.

Finally, the flower heads can be used to make dandelion oil. I use this oil to make a pain-relieving salve. The ingredients are only the oil and beeswax, with the addition of essential oil if desired. Dandelion has mild analgesic properties, believe it or not. When rubbed on a sore neck, the salve can ease the pain in a few minutes. I know, it sounds crazy, but it really works! It's at least worth a try.

Right now I have dandelion soda in the works. I will add photos and more information later.

Remember, don't spray those dandelions! No Roundup!  Embrace the weeds!

If you simply must have a perfect (-ly boring) lawn, there are a few ways to kill the yellow flowers. Smother them, pour boiling water on the plants, or pour vinegar on, boiling works best.

Yay dandelions!