Heidi Strawn
March 25, 2009

Dandelions can be used for more than you expect
Gathering dandelions for … fritters?

Where art thou, Dandelions?

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I suspect some suburban-dwellers reading this will think I’ve totally lost it, considering that many folks spend a good deal of time trying to rid their neat lawns of this cheerful scourge. 

But I can’t help it: Reading several stories featuring my favorite “weed” in the May/June 2009 issue of Hobby Farm Home has left me pining for dandelions, yearning for dandelions, dreaming of dandelions. 

It’s just the first, rainy day of spring, and I want them to come springing out, manes aglow, but it’s still too early. 

Can you tell I love dandelions?

I’ve never understood why such a pretty, perky flower – one that’s edible and nutritious, too – is so reviled, while those high-maintenance, green (not in the environmental sense) swaths of inedible (by us) lawn are worshipped by so many. 

Just off the top of my head, I can think of seven uses for dandelions:

  1. Create dandelion chains, necklaces, and crowns with your kids.
    Cherie gives 7 easy ways to make use of the under-appreciated Dandelion
  2. Offer a bouquet to your bunnies, goats, sheep, or horses.
  3. Peel stem into long, vertical strips from the bottom, toss dandelion in water, watch strips curl.  Very cool for kids.
  4. Hold flower close to chin, see chin turn yellow (also cool for kids).
  5. Toss young leaves into salads, or stir-fry in olive oil and garlic with other greens.
  6. Make delicious dandelion flower fritters (Yum!  See page 15 of May/June 2009 Hobby Farm Home for a recipe).
  7. Gather lots of flower fluff to make dandelion jelly or wine.

My fondest dandelion dream goes like this: I gather my untamed beauties in bunches and sit on the deck in the sunshine, plucking fluffy petals to the tune of humming bumble bees and trilling song sparrows. 

I cook up a batch of delicately-scented dandelion jelly and pour it into jars, where it shines like morning sun-rays.  Then I bake up some scones, spread the sweet golden jelly on top, and savor every bite of spring.

Any other dandelion lovers out there? 

Happy spring!
~ Cherie

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