Tuesday, April 14, 2009
In Praise of the Dandelion
I love dandelions.
I seem to be one of the few in this category, for most people, it is a weed, to be scorned and destroyed at every opportunity. I can see why, if what you are seeking is a wide expanse of lawn that is unmarred by anything other than long pristine shafts of green grass.
The dandelion is a singularly determined species, hard to eradicate under the best of circumstances. The more you try to make it disappear, the more of them you'll see. ("What's a dandelion digger for?" a dandelion asked. "It’s a human invention to help us reproduce," another dandelion replied.)
I don't have a lawn, I have considered one, but the earth friendly person in me who hates to waste water just can't see trying to grow a lawn in the desert. It feels wasteful.
So I admire the dandelion, with all it's wonderful beauty and uses.
What uses? yeah, there a a ton of great things to do with dandelions, (if you haven't fertialized or poisoned them, mind you):
According to the UNM dandelion's are a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc, and in traditional medicine people have used dandelion roots and leaves to treat liver problems. Also, Native Americans have used dandelion's to make liquid concoctions to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and stomach upset. UNM also mentions that Chinese medicinal practitioners have traditionally used dandelion to treat digestive disorders, appendicitis, and breast problems (such as inflammation or lack of milk flow), and in Europe, herbalists incorporated it into remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.
Prodigal Gardens a website that specializes in medicinal herbs and wild foods, has some great recipes, including:
Cream of Dandelion Soup
Dandelion Egg Salad
Dandelion Pasta Salad
Split Pea-Dandelion Bud Soup
Dandelion Blossom Syrup
Dandelion Blossom Cake
Dandelion Blossom Pancake
Roasted Dandelion Root Coffee Ice Cream
And if you are a wine connoisseur, you can't forget Dandelion Wines.
So, up with the dandelion, I say. Healthy, useful, and always pretty as a bouquet in a tiny vase on my kitchen bar, it is less a weed to me than the grass I won't have because of water conservation issues.
Dandelion Tea, anyone?