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Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Simple Dandelion

For years people have tried rid of their lawns and gardens of dandelions.  They spray them with chemicals, dig them up, pour boiling water on them, and try every trick in the book to get ride of them.   But, still they prevail.    With the recent ban on pesticides in our province this year there have been more dandelions than I can ever remember.  

Did you know that dandelions are good for you ?  According to Health Canada, 1 cup (250 ml) of raw dandelion greens equals a daily serving of vegetables and they're packed with vitamines, including A, C, and K, and minerals such as calcium, iron, and potassium.   "From the bright flowers down to the dark--almost black-- roots, dandelions complement a variety of tasty, and nutritious, foods and beverages.  And their reputation as medicinal plants reaches at least as far back as ancient Greece.  The dandelion's official name, Taxaraxacum officinale, stems from the Greek taraxous meaning disorder, and akos, or remedy.  (According to "Alive Magazine", a Canadian natural health and wellness magazine),  

"In China, by the 7th century, dandelions had claimed their spot as herbal remedies for ailments, including liver, kidney, and digestive disorders.  By the 1400s they had found their way into the cuisine of most European countires.   The French have feasted on this plant for centuries, calling it dent-de-lion because its sharp, serrated leaves resemble lion's teeth.  Hence the anglicized dandelion."

Dandelions can be used in a variety of recipes.  The leaves are great in salads, sauteed, and blanched.  The flowers can be used in making dandelion wine, jelly/jam, and sauteed as a snack.  The roots can be roasted and brewed as a coffee substitute.   The leaves can also be steeped in boiling water for 4-6 minues to make a tea and sweetened with honey to enhance digestion. 

Next time you go to dig up that dandelion in your yard think of all the think of all the benefits this simple plant can bring !

This year I picked the flowers and made dandelion jelly.  There are many recipes to choose from, and I chose one to try from "Food.com", a light, delicate tasting jelly.

Fresh picked dandelion blossoms


Dandelion blossom petals ready for making jelly


Dandelion Jelly

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