Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Mighty Dandelion

Gone To Seed, Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, Pittsburgh, 2016


As a nature lover, I don't have my yard sprayed with toxic chemicals so that all I have is grass.  The consequence of that is a vast proliferation of dandelions, clover, ground ivy, flea bane, etc, which to me is preferable to polluting the air, water, and soil for generations to come just so that the yard appears uniform.  Many of my neighbors do spray, and while I don't harp at them for this practice, sometimes they do needle me about my yard.  I sometimes defend my stance, but other times I don't care enough about the person commenting on the 'weeds' to even respond to them.  I smile and wave, and try to not think less of them.
Over the years I have tried to make use of dandelions, whether in salads, wine, or medicinally, and I find them most useful in the latter of those things.  Dried dandelion root is an excellent liver restorer, perhaps the best in all of herbology.  Meanwhile, as a salad green you have to be careful to pick only the newest of the early leaves or they're too bitter.  You can pick older leaves and blanch them in a couple of changes of water, saute them in olive oil and serve them the same way you would spinach or garlic mustard, but I don't find them to be as pleasing as either spinach or garlic mustard.  As for dandelion wine; it too can be bitter, leaving an unpleasant after taste on the palate, despite how many oranges you add to the vat (most dandelion wine recipes call for oranges to go in the brew to add flavor). 

No comments: