Heartwings says, “Taking care of ourselves is very important, and dandelions can help.”
I have always loved dandelions. My memory holds an image of my four-year-old self making a crown for my mother–picking the dandelions, carefully slitting each stem and then poking the heads through to make a bright golden circle. I also remember picking great bunches of them to give her and being disappointed when they closed up, never to reopen. I love to spot them flowering in vacant lots or beside city buildings; their cheerful brightness refreshes my soul. These little golden suns are starting to show up everywhere these days.
Some will groan and go out to buy weed killer. Big mistake! In addition to the damage most weed killers will do to the surrounding denizens of the year with paws or wings, not to mention humans, when you know how to use them, the greens are good food. You can use them in salad as well as cook them. Somewhat bitter, dandelions are nutritious food. In addition, you can add the steamed greens to steamed kale, collards, spinach or asparagus and whirl them together with garlic and olive oil in a food processor. Promise you won’t experience the bitter at all.
Dandelions contain a whole pharmacy of healthy ingredients. According to Susan Tyler Hitchcock, writing in Gather Ye Wild things, one half cup fresh dandelion greens provides 14,000 milligrams of Vitamin A, as well as half our daily requirement of vitamin C, plus minerals–most especially potassium, calcium and others.
Still want to poison them? Consider that every part of the plant is edible, that the early settlers who brought the seeds here from England used to make coffee from the roasted roots, and that your liver as well as your kidneys will greatly benefit from eating the fresh or sautéed plant. Anyone who wishes to diet will do well to eat dandelions as well as drink dandelion tea, available in health food stores in tea bag form. It is a healthy, inexpensive diuretic. It makes a great wine. It’s easy, tasty, and fun to share.
Ingredients: three lemons, three oranges, six cups of sugar, one package of dry yeast, a quart of dandelion blossoms and a gallon of boiling water. Method: Slice the lemons and oranges into a bowl. Pour the sugar into the bowl and stir to blend. Leave over night. At the same time, pour the boiling water over the freshly picked blossoms in a large crock, or enamel or stainless-steel pot and leave overnight. Never use an aluminum vessel.
The next day, combine all in the large crock or pot, sprinkle with yeast, cover with a cheesecloth or netting and leave for five days. On the sixth day, strain out the fruit and blossoms, bottle the liquid, and cap with a balloon. Set aside to ferment. When balloons hang limply, fermentation is done. Cork tightly and store at least six months, the longer the better. This recipe makes about five bottles of a slightly sweet, mellow, green/golden wine. It is best served after dinner or as a special treat. To me it tastes like a Spring Day.
May your dandelions nourish you in whatever form you have them.”
Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert
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