In a quest to use more of nature’s free gifts at Weber Wonderland I decided this would be the year I would weed, I mean forage for Dandelions.
We have dandelions everywhere. As it should be, right? I never understood why people are so anti-dandelion in their yard. Mow them down, lawn is green. They pop up and provide a cheery landscape and hours and hours of entertainment for kids. I mean who hasn’t had a wee one bring them a handpicked bouquet of these posies? Who hasn’t had stains on their hands from spending hours of their time in the summer making dandelion chains from the stems? And of course, blowing the seeds and making wishes. I love them.
So I decided to dig them up. Hahahaha. Not to kill them per se, because first of all there are far, far too many to even consider. But the ones on the perimeter of the garden and walkway up to the front porch could be scaled back a bit. Mowing over them will only, well temporarily make them go away. I chose this area because I could almost in a way feel like I was weeding and landscaping an area all while foraging for the flowers at the same time!
Now I’m no stranger to the dandelion greens. I’ve been picking them for years now (since living with HWMMS up in Ransomville, where I knew we didn’t have chemicals on the lawn.) I add them to salad (many times to eggs…) and saute them and treat them like spinach greens. Sometimes when I’m on a green smoothie kick, they go right into the blender.
I haven’t however, been a person who has foraged the flower tops. My brother has made dandelion wine. And I see interesting recipes for fried dandelion fritters or dandelion blossom cookies or breads. All are things I want to try! But my goodness the amount of picking for such little reward. I still have to go back and separate all the petals too—the green part is apparently bitter. We’ll see what I end up concocting up in the week ahead. (Wine, I’m thinking wine.)
The other part of the flower which never even occurred to me to forage for is the root. Yes, I know that dandelion root (and chicory) has been used as a coffee substitute. And in the last few years and my dabble in medicinal herbs I’ve learned what an amazing tonic dandelion can be for the kidneys and detoxing and getting rid of bloat. I even bought a dandelion root supplement this past winter when I was struggling with urinary problems and SO MUCH BLOATING. It really worked. I peed like a champion. Somehow this little flower and it’s root is able to soak up extra pee and bring it out of the body. Who’da thunk it? And all natural too!
THAT SAID. I thought maybe I would try to roast and dry some of the roots too and see if I could make my own tonic. The part I didn’t expect? HOLY COW THE ROOTS ARE LONG. For every 10 plants I tried to dig up by the root *(weeding, foraging…you know) I think maybe 9 of them were unsuccessful. I had piles and piles of dandelions around me that I dug up and barely any roots. Once in a rare while I would hit the jackpot and pull out a really long one…WHEEEEEE! This made me happy and also depressed, because I realized pretty much every root I tried to get and didn’t…is still in the ground and will still come up again, so much for the weeding.
A few hours of this and you can see what I harvested. That was a lot of work for—well, we will see what kind of reward. Wish me luck.