Dandelions rock! I love them. I remember living in Michigan, and sitting in my Grandmother's front yard with the dandelions, just hanging out and getting to know them. It was a magickal feeling, communing with the dandelions, and pondering the gift of their medicine. As a little girl, we rubbed the flowers on our chins to see if we liked butter or not!
This sweet little dandelion lives in my front yard next to the walk, and I couldn't resist a picture, cozy the way it is with that grape hyacinth. They are two of the first flowers for the bees, and make me so happy. I "encourage" the dandelions in my yard, and this year there really are a lot of them. I always make a wish before I blow on the puffballs :)
Dandelions are an invaluable wild food, prolific and early, and full of vitality. I try to eat some almost every day as we come out of winter. The first day is a little odd, I'm never really sure how I feel about that bitterness. A funny thing happens to me on the second day. I can't stop thinking about dandelions! I begin to crave them.
Bitter is cold and dry energetically, the perfect flavor and energetic to lift the dampness and "stuck" feeling I have by the end of winter. My body craves fresh, wild foods.
Cooking with dandelions is so easy! I go outside with my steamer basket or a strainer, whatever I have handy. Look out across your lawn, and notice which plants call to you. You may think that some look brighter than others, or feel inexplicably drawn to some over others. These are the dandelions that are offering you their medicine. Be respectful of these beings, and thank them sincerely for their offerings. I always say "thank you" as I am harvesting. Take some from each plant, being careful to leave enough greenery behind to feed the plant.
Dandelion greens get more bitter as the season progresses, so later, when the bitterness becomes too much, you can pickle the leaves. Now, while the bitterness is tonic and pleasant, they make a nice addition to sauteed onions and mushrooms with garlic. I like to chop them and put them in soups, or make pesto! Dandelion pesto is fantastic! There are many many ways to prepare Dandelions. Be creative!
Last week I sauteed an onion with coconut oil in a saucepan until the onion was translucent. Then I added a can of pumpkin, a can of coconut milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. While the soup was warming back up, I went out to my front yard and picked a basket of dandelion greens. Rinsed and chopped, they went into the soup. My friends raved about that soup! It was tasty, and was adapted from a recipe I found in Susun Weed's Healing Wise. She has a really nice chapter on dandelions.
I also baked a salmon with rice and dandelion greens last week. I had high expectations, as everything that went into that pan was yummy! Turns out, according to my friend with a culinary degree, that I actually poached the salmon instead of baking, and that's why it came out kind of bland. I sprinkled Old Bay, Dill and Garlic powder liberally over the salmon fillet (wild caught Alaskan), then poured 1 C of rice around the salmon, covered the rice with 2C of hot water (should have been something with some flavor, like veggie stock) and then put washed and chopped dandelion greens on top of the rice. Yum, right? Not so much. The fish was bland, as was the rice. I put tamari on it and that saved the day. Had I used veggie stock instead of plain water, it would have come out the way I had anticipated. Now I know, and so do you! I baked the salmon at 350 for about 45 minutes. Next time it will be as fabulous as I imagine.
Tomorrow is supposed to be a gorgeous day, followed by a cold and rainy/snowy day, so I'll be out bright and early to harvest dandelion blossoms. Susun Weed has a recipe for Dandelion Cordial that is calling to me! I'll stop by the liquor store on the way home for some really nice Vodka, and keep you posted on the results!
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“In this age the fear of disease has developed until it has become a great power for harm, because it opens the door to those things we dread and makes it easier for their admission.”
Edward Bach, Heal Thyself