I am sipping a lovely cup of Spring.
When I nipped meself outside yesterday to feed the chickens (and spoil the neighbor’s goats because I’m a sucker for a pitiful bleat), I found my yard sprinkled with golden coins, sparkling in the pooling sunlight.
Springtime had arrived! The Dandelions are finally here! Dent-de-leon, Tooth of the Lion, golden disks of beauty and health and wonderment.
You know, that horrible weed that people poison their yards to get rid of? Yeah. That one. I don’t hate on “weeds” and I welcome their presence in my native landscape…in other words, I did a dance of joy.
I went through the yard with scissors, snipping the golden flowers from their leafy crown pedestals and managed to gather up a large handful. I also snipped a small handful of violet leaves and flowers from the quickly-strengthening patch I planted a couple of weeks ago. (here’s more about violets!)
After the chickens were fed and the stinky goats fed and petted, I made my way back to the house and put the kettle on. I rinsed the dandelion heads and violets in clean, cold water and tossed them into a jar. When the water was just about to a boil, I poured it over the flowers in the jar and sealed it up tight. I left it there on the counter all day and night, shaking it as I walked by.
This morning, I put a bit of honey in my travel mug, added a splash of hot water, stirred it together, and then topped it off with the strained contents of the jar. FRESH dandelion and violet infusion, what a gift!
This drink is high in vitamins, specifically vitamin A. It doesn’t have a very strong flavor. Mostly just green and alive, a freshness that cannot be denied. I expected there to be more bitterness, as I left the green bits on the bottoms of the flowers, but no. It is a delightful, refreshing drink, and I encourage you to find a cupful of spring from your own yard!
Things I want to do with Dandelions this season, and what I know about them:
- Harvest roots and pickle, dry, and otherwise experiment and learn about them. The roots are great for anemia (high in iron!) and are a liver tonic. They also increase hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which aids digestion and allows more of the nutrients of your food to be absorbed into your system.
- Use the greens to make pestos, salads, and more. I’m learning to appreciate bitter flavors and can feel the gastrointestinal benefit. They are also really high in calcium, vitamin A (½ cup of greens has around 14,000 IU of vitamin A). They are also loaded with caretones which are known cancer-fighting agents and help move radiation through your body and OUT.
- Dandelion flower cordial, fritters, cookies, and more! You can do anything with these little guys, and there will be more infusions and teas in my life. I made a dandelion mead last year – I should post that recipe and share the experience in another post here soon.
- Dandelion flower oil and salves. Dandelion oil is very nutritive to the skin and is an excellent oil to use topically for cysts, particularly breast cysts. Add some aloe to it for an amazing sunburn relief.
Do you have dandelions yet? Do you nibble on your yard like a crazed rabbit? If you know there are no chemicals sprayed, you should go get your nibble on and learn about this versatile healer that is so despised by those with solid green, boring yards!