Today, winter turns into spring but it’s snowing… So, it seems like a good time for you and me to discuss dandelions. That’s right, dandelions. Before you decide to kill them again this year, I implore you, let them live. Let them live!
I don’t know who convinced the American public- at-large that we all need lawns that look like pristine, lush, green carpets – probably some brilliant but evil marketing genius at a chemical company – but that person should have been sho- ahem, given a stern talking-to!
Anyway, however it happened, it’s a damn shame because the dandelion, and other so-called weeds with wonderful health-benefitting properties, went from friend to foe in the space of a generation, when all they ever wanted to do was heal us and the rest of the planet. That’s right! Those lovely, little yellow flowers are really nature’s medicine. Dandelions are meant to nourish us and many other species.
The bees, for example, rely on dandelions for food in the spring before many other flowers are blooming and again in the autumn, after less hearty blossoms have long been spent. Much has been made recently about the declining bee populations and the dire consequences that stem from their loss. You can help the little buggers out by leaving the dandelions alone! I mentioned in an earlier post that you may have noticed your dog or cat eating dandelions. They do this because instinctively they know that dandelions will clean them out and improve their health. Dandelions are a mild diuretic and they are high in vitamins and minerals. *
Guess what? Dandelions will help get you healthy and clean you out too! I can hear you now. “Oh Cynthia! You’re being weird again! There is no way I am picking dandelions from my yard and eating them!” Well, you don’t have to eat them straight from the yard. Bring them in the house and wash them first for Goodness’ Sake!
Early spring dandelion leaves are quite tender and delicious in a raw salad. I have also put them in smoothies. A lovely herbal tea can be made from fresh or dried dandelion leaves. Wildman Steve Brill has several interesting cooked dandelion root recipes on his website. You can even make the flowers into wine! (I gotta try that… one of these days!)
Have I convinced you not to poison or rip out and discard this misunderstood herb yet? Are you impressed by all the health-improving benefits offered by the mighty dandelion? If you still feel weird about picking these beautifully abundant plants, you can always go to Fairway and pay several dollars for a bunch instead of allowing them to grow in your own backyard!
What’s your take on dandelions? Friend or foe? Leave a comment and let me know!
*A somewhat decent but by no means complete list of dandelion’s beneficial properties:
- Food for animals and insects
- Eases indigestion
Good source of:
- B Vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin D
Love and Blessings to All,
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Great article! Love the way you give info with humor. I do not poison my beneficial little weeds. They do get mowed if I don’t get to them in time. This year I wil make more of an effort to harvest before they get mowed down! If the snow ever leaves my lawn. Thanks for the info & inspiration.
Glad you liked the post, Jodi! 🙂 I think you will be pleasantly surprised by these free little wonders, especially given your cooking talents!
I can’t say I’ve ever cooked with it, but I’ve had dandelion tea and quite enjoyed it. And anything that helps bees should be left alone as far as I’m concerned! 🙂
I agree Andrea! Thanks for the comment! You might be pleasantly surprised if you try throwing a few dandelion greens in a salad!