Jill S. McIntyre

Life isn't about finding yourself. It's about creating your self.

Category: Garden Goddess

Delightful Dandelion 4– The Root

Give it a try!

As I discussed in my earlier posts, the whole dandelion is edible, nutritious and medicinal so I will keep this short and sweet. Roots can be harvested in the fall for the best potency . Then they are dried and can be made into loose-leaf tea. Many people use Dandelion Root Tea for a coffee substitute as it has a slightly bitter chicory like flavor. In traditional herbal medicine, the root tea is also used for appetite stimulation, aides in digestion, detoxifies the liver, and can also have laxative effects. Other medicinal uses include eczema treatment, joint care, and muscle aches. Please consult your health care provider before using medicinal herbs.

Delightful Dandelions: Part 3–The Flowers

Delightful Dandelion 2

 

Flowers–even allergy sufferers can appreciate a beautiful bloom!  Not only do flowers add color and life to our yard and homes, but many varieties of flowers are edible.  Delightful Dandelions  are no exception.  In Delightful Dandelions: Part 3,  you will learn the ins and outs of  harvesting/foraging the dandelion flower for recipes .

 

Harvesting and foraging

After doing extensive research, I found that  the “right” time to harvest your Delightful Dandelions will vary depending upon the recipe:  Dandelion Fritters  require full blooms while Dandelion Capers only use the bud.   To harvest the bloom or bud, just scout out the appropriate stage of flowering and pluck flower or bud from stem.  To easily access just the petals, other recipes call for the flowers to be picked and dried. For this use, pick your Delightful Dandelions in the morning while they are still closed.  Twist the petals away from the stem.  I like to use my colander to gather the flowers in so I can immediately wash them back in the kitchen.  And always remember to pick dandelions you know for certain haven’t been sprayed with herbicide.

Delightful Dandelion 3

  (FYI: other flowers look very similar to dandelions.  Check out this chart to see the difference)

After you have washed and drained your foraged harvest of dandelions, lay them out to drain on a clean dish towel or paper towels. The drying process takes 2-3 days depending on how well you have drained the washed flowers.   I let my flowers dry about one week before using them .

Delighful Dandelion 13

After they are dry, the green “brack” part of the flower can be removed and composted.

When the Delightful Dandelions are dry and the bracks removed, store the petals in a jar or zip lock.

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Now they are ready to use! Try them in Dandelion Muffins!

Dandelion Muffins

Delighful Dandelion Muffins 4

2 cup unbleached Wheat Montana flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup dried dandelion petals

1/4 cup  sunflower oil

4 Tbs Cooks honey

1 local egg

1 1/2 cup (minus 2 Tbs)  Kalispell Kremery whole milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix.  Add the dandelion petals. Mix.  In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine milk, honey, and oil.  Beat in the egg.  Add liquid ingredients to dry.   Do not over stir! The batter should be a little lumpy.  Pour into muffin tins that have been greased or in muffin papers in muffin tin ( I love the re-usable silicone ones!) .  Place in the oven.  Check for readiness after 15 minutes by poking in a toothpick –if it comes out clean, the muffins are done.  (The regular muffins took about 30 mins and the mini ones took about 20 minutes. But remember: ALL ovens vary.)   Cool on racks and enjoy!

(Makes 12 dozen regular muffins + 12 mini muffins)

Next time in our Delightful Dandelion series–the root.

Delightful Dandelions: Part 1

dandelion poem

 

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved dandelions!  I would pick large bouquets, make flower chains, make wishes as I blew the seeds into the air, and admire the tenacity of the dandelion that grows through sidewalk cracks .   I never understood why people had to kill their whole lawn to get rid of these delightful flowers.   In recent years, I have seen a resurgence in appreciation of dandelions by fellow foragers with headlines such as: The Many Health Benefits of Dandelion, 16 Ways to Eat Dandelion, and Save the Dandelions. Save the Bees.  to name a few.  

dandelion meme 1

dandelion meme 2

dandelion meme 3

Dandelions are everywhere these days!  This series will give you all the facts you need to know about Dandelions as well as showcase how to forage and prepare those front yard dandelions into everything from bread to sauteed greens as well as wine and tea..so stay tuned!

Dandelion Facts

Taraxacum officinale from the family Asteraceae, otherwise known as the Dandelion (French for lion’ tooth)  are native to Eurasia and North America. This common “weed” is entirely edible from flower to leaf to root.  Dandelions have  small flowers formed together into a composite “flower head” ; and a  single flower in a head is called a floret. Like  Many Taraxacum species, the dandelion  produce seeds asexually by a process called apomixis  ( the seeds are produced without pollination). Dandelion offspring, then , are genetically identical to their parent, i.e. clones.

In the Garden

Dandelions grow in Zones 3-10, and do well in partial shade to full sun. This perennial will grow in most soils that are moist and fertile with a pH of 6-7.0.  Some dandelions can reach up to 12 inches in height but average around 6 to 8 inches tall.   If you choose to grow your own rather than forage, choose seeds from a large leaf variety from a specialized seed catalog. Sow the seeds directly in the early spring.  In order to harvest roots, add plenty of compost or manure to your garden each spring to help loosen the soil.  Planted dandelions will flower in late spring and are usually free of pests and diseases.  When you plant dandelions, you may need to do some thinning as they will have the tendency to take over your garden.   The seed heads and individual seeds can be saved easily in an envelope.

Outsidepride Dandelion – 5000 Seeds

To be continued….. 

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