The Unsung Dandelion
0 comment Thursday, August 14, 2014 |
The humble dandelion is rather maligned - in Western culture where perfect lawns you're not allowed to walk in is considered an ideal, these herbs are given the derisive term "weed" and are removed from gardens with bloodyminded determination and zeal. Bewilderingly, the same people then tend garden plants for edible flowers, greens, and tubers and applaud themselves for being organic and self-sufficient.
I'm not sure what's up with that, but a few days ago I looked outside at the dandelions and thought "wow, what a brilliant crop this year".
Dandelions have a lot of benefits, but like most "weeds", they've been pushed aside for the latest, trendiest cultivars. But the dandelion has a lot to offer us. The yellow heads bring pollinators to the garden, and almost make a very bright, delicious country wine if you gather them when the sun has been shining on them for an hour (this warms and releases the aroma of nectar into the wine). The leaves, picked before the heads start to form, make a great summer salad option, and can also be cooked as a green - teamed up with nettles, they're a great spring tonic. The roots can be harvested as well, then blanched, pickled, or roasted and ground as a coffee substitute or made into soft drinks.
This year I've got a fair few dandelions in the front, but due to the changing weather, they've closed themselves up like primroses to the elements. I'm eyeing the weather forecast for another sunny day, and will be out to pick these little beauties and getting the first wine of the year in the demijohn.

Labels: ,