When my daughter was young I used to pay her ten cents for every dandelion that she picked from the lawn. My complete laziness combined perfectly with her thinking that they were pretty, yellow flowers (and not some weed that managed to evade the lawnmower when I went over it, then pop back up just in time to send millions of seeds out into the universe).
I don’t dislike dandelions at all, but I do think their seeds are prettier than the flower itself, and I would never pass up an opportunity to blow on one and make a wish. I am fascinated by the way that they always seem to right themselves as soon as they are set free – reminding me of Mary Poppins, these small fairy umbrellas stand perfectly poised for a moment, then elegantly catch a ride on the nearest breath of wind. Not caring where they go, they quickly disappear, even when the day around them seems so very still.
So, I saw a recipe for dandelion wine (which reminded me of those sweet, sunny days when my daughter could happily fill an afternoon with picking flowers) and I thought it would be fun to share some practical things that we could do with dandelions…
Dandelion Wine: This particular recipe I like because it is so simple (and I don’t feel that anything to do with dandelions should be complicated). It’s from Epicurious – a delightful word, supposedly made up by one of my favorite chefs, Michael Lomonico.
Dandelion Jelly: I haven’t made this yet, but I will. The reviews say that you might need a bit more pectin than the recipe calls for, but they also say that it tastes good even if it doesn’t set up quite as jiggly as it should.
Dandelion Salve: Any salve, cream or ointment that is made from just a few, natural ingredients is usually very good for you, and this one also has beeswax in it, so the healing properties are even better. * Please be careful about potential honey/pollen/bee allergies though – especially with young children.
Dandelion Cupcakes: Why didn’t I think of this? From The Nerdy Farm Wife comes a simple recipe for just adding dandelion petals to your regular cupcake batter. It’s barely even a recipe, but just a few yummy guidelines on what (and what not) to do.
Dandelion Paleo Cupcakes: This is what I would call a proper recipe. Proving that a Paleo diet doesn’t have to be boring, these dandelion and lemon cupcakes (main photograph) sound delicious (in fact, everything on Andrea’s site looks and sounds delicious).
Dandelion Lemonade: There is nothing like making your own homemade lemonade, and this one tastes exactly like Summer.
Preserved Dandelion Clocks: Why not capture them before they fly away, and turn those ethereal puff balls into the most delicate of garden decorations? (A fun craft for a fairy themed birthday party).
Dandelion Everything: From quesadillas to pesto and cookies, Jill over at the Prairie Homestead has sixteen of my favorite (and unexpected) dandelion recipes.
A few dandelion notes….
If you’re using any of these recipes, please collect dandelions from your own pesticide and chemical free garden, rinse gently, and be sure that they haven’t been sprayed with anything other than nature.
By the way, did you know that Crayola retired their Dandelion Yellow Crayon this year? We are not quite sure why, but they did say that he had “an adventurous spirit” with “a case of wanderlust”, which could be useful considering that Dandelion, at only 27 years old, seems far too young to retire.
For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to: http://www.thebluegiraffe.com/