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!

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