Wild About Dandelion

It’s dandelion season! 

dandelion-and-bee-hives One of the first pollen sources for foraging honey bees, I love and appreciate the dandelion. When I see my girls out gathering and stopping by the dandelions, returning to the hive legs loaded with pollen like 2 saddle bags, I know all is right in the world.  For spring has sprung and we shall be saved from the dark days of winter with dandelion, honey bees, and sunshine.

I am the person who encourages dandelions.  The hallmark of a great lawn to me is an abundant supply of this “residential nuisance.” While my neighbors work hard to rid their lawns of dandelions, Sweet Baby and I are out crawling our lawn, picking blossoms, greens, and roots– A sight to see I’m sure, me picking dandelions and she stuffing dead leaves and grass clippings in her mouth.  We wildcraft in our own yard, and are happier because of it. Call me crazy, but I don’t see a weed, I see a medicinal food source.

dandelion-gathering-basket Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, has long been used as a food source and as a medicine.  Salads are made with the greens, a coffee substitute with the roots, and wine from the blossoms, the whole entire plant is edible.  A staple for greens in a family’s diet during the Great Depression, this abundant ‘weed’ has proved to be most useful.  A wildly successful self-seeder, the prolific dandelion can be found in Europe, Asia and the Americas.  Dandelion leaves are abundant in vitamins and minerals, and are a good source of vitamins A, C and K, along with calcium, potassium, iron, copper and manganese.

What is not to love about them?

Medicinally, they can be used for cleansing of the blood and liver, and can be used as a general tonic to cleanse and strengthen to gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, stomach and intestines.  It has been used to treat hepatitis and cirrhosis, skin problems and gall stones, and many other ailments.  Dandelion tea has been known to improve digestion, eliminate fatigue, assist in treatment of diabetes and low blood sugar, as well as helping to lower cholesterol.

I like to make dandelion-infused vinegar to have the healing benefits of dandelion at the ready for cooking, kitchen cosmetics and medicine making.  Making dandelion vinegar is simple, and I use the solar infusion method, the same way I infuse my oils.  I first gather my blossoms, enough to fill whatever jar I am working with.  *Note*  I only gather from trusted sources.  I do not spray my lawn with any chemicals and I have an abundance of dandelion so I gather happily.  I would be leery gathering from a park or other manicured lawn because it’s a sure bet there will be chemical sprays used.  Use caution!

dandelions-bursting-from-mason-jar Next, I lightly press the dandelions down into the jar and pour apple cider vinegar over the top of them to fill the jar.

dandelions-pressed-down dandelion-vinegar I cap with a plastic mason jar lid (because the acid of the vinegar corrodes the metal ring and lid), and place in a sunny window.  It is generally not sunny where I live, so I am more likely to place the infusion on the counter in the kitchen where I will remember to shake it once per day, for 6-8 weeks.

I can’t wait to use this dandelion-infused apple cider vinegar as a hair rinse and as a salad dressing.  I will gather dandelion leaves and make a dandelion dressing for a healthful and tasty treat.  Here’s how:

Dandelion Salad with Goat Cheese and Apple

  • 2 T Dandelion-Infused ACV
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • 1 t raw honey
  • 1 clove (minced) garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Whisk the above ingredients and pour over and lightly toss with:

  • 1 large bunch, (3 big handfuls) dandelion greens, washed and dried
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
  • 1 apple, chopped

Top with fresh goat cheese

dandelion-and-slug

It’s also slug season… which means I am about to wage war!

What do you make from dandelion? Or are you new to them and ready to pillage you and your neighbor’s lawns?  The conversation continues on facebook.  I’d love to be your friend!

**Remember, I am not a doctor or an expert.  Nor am I a butcher, or baker, or candlestick maker, and I thoughtfully encourage you to do your own research on topics of interest to you.  The remedies suggested are not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that provide a small commission to me when purchases are made through that link–-at no extra cost to you. I only affiliate with companies whose products I personally use and can whole-heartedly recommend. Thank you for supporting Sustain, Create and Flow.

*Shared With: Farmgirl Friday, LHITS DIY Linky, Fight Back Friday, Natural Living Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Your Green Resource, Frugal Crafty Home, In and Out of the Kitchen, Fat Tuesday, Well Fed Wednesday, From the Farm

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