As my diversified lawn continued to diversify, (See Post 8 Lawn Zen.) the hearty dandelions, confident in their lawn citizenship status, ranked higher in population than Creeping Charlie. At least that’s what the latest census poll supported. Their popularity is attributed to timing.
Timing is everything!
Dandelions prevent grumpy bees.
Dandelions are one of the earliest springtime flowers to blossom and provide bees with a significant food source before other flowers are available. This appetizer tides them over until the main course arrives. Think of them as Outback’s “Bloomin’ Onion” or Chili’s “Texas Cheese Fries,” but not as unhealthy.
This yellow flowers’ speedy arrival is fortunate not only for the bees, but for us. When I’m hungry and service is slow, grumpiness sets in. It’s probably the same for bees. Who wants to be around grumpy bees? I know not everyone wants to sit next to me when my stomach is rumbling.
Research verifies that dandelions are a good food choice for us, unless you sprayed them with weed killer or have a pack of dogs relieving themselves in the area. Then I’d go with the “Bloomin’ Onion”.
From what I’ve found almost every part of the dandelion is used to treat almost every aliment of almost every part of the body. (Since I read it on the Internet, it has to be true.) This powerful flower clears kidneys, detoxes livers and boosts immune systems. Luckily my kidneys, liver, and immune system are doing just fine. I do have a bunion that nags at tight shoes, but dandelions can’t help that.
Dandelion roots, leaves, and flowers are roasted for coffee, tossed in salads, and preserved as jelly respectively. Inspired by a homesteader website, I decided to try this weed as an ingredient. I browsed through numerous recipes. Although “Dandelion Wine” sounded intriguing, I didn’t have the weeks required for the fermenting. I eliminated the appealing “Wild Springtime Pizza” because that required hunting for morels. I also passed on “Tempura Dandelion Flowers.” If I fried them I’d compare them to “The Bloom’ Onion.” Nothing measures up to that Outback delicacy especially with a cold Fosters. It wouldn’t be fair to the dandelions. Finally I decided upon “Dandelion Greens with a Kick” and “Dandelion Flower Cookies.”
I gathered a heaping bowl of dandelions. A website outlined a twelve step procedure for harvesting these flowers. (Apparently some people can’t figure out anything on their own.) I used the one step procedure of pulling. Guilt set in as I thought about how I was taking food out of the mouths of hungry, grumpy bees, but last week’s rain and warmer temperatures coaxed my flowering tree to blossom and in turn the tree coaxed the bees away from the dandelions. Overhead the buzzing insects gave me a thumbs up. I continued my collecting.
Since I’m not completely grown up I baked and ate the cookies first. Basically it was a sugar cookie with a cup of oatmeal and half that of dandelion flowerets thrown in. It made a pretty, but bland dessert. A handful of chocolate chips would have helped. But then a handful of chocolate chips ALWAYS help.
After picking and soaking and boiling the dandelion greens I sautéed them with onion and garlic and red pepper flakes. Grated Parmesan cheese topped the mixture. It was surprisingly good. However mostly anything with onion and garlic is tasty. I don’t think the dandelion leaves made it any better. I could have used spinach.
My brother arrived just as I finished cooking. It was hours before our dinner reservations and Tony had skipped lunch. He was hungry and getting grumpy. (It’s a family trait.) I reheated the dandelion greens and followed up with the flower cookies. He enjoyed them both . . .
but then timing is everything!