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Dandelions - If you can't beat them, eat them!
Dandelions may be the most recognized plant on earth. They certainly grow everywhere, from lawns to high mountain meadows. Although there are native dandelions in North America, the most commonly found species is Taraxacum officinale, an import from the Old World. For an ecologically sound weed control alternative, try eating your dandelions, instead of poisoning them. All dandelions are edible, though palatability may vary from region to region.
The cleaned, chopped and boiled roots make a pretty decent meal, and it seems to be one of the more efficient root crops to gather for a meal. The roots are rich in inulin polysaccarides, which have a tendency to sweeten the longer they are cooked.
Mostly I like to harvest dandelion roots out of the lawn at home for use as a coffee substitute. The roots should be washed, dried, and then slow roasted in the oven until they are dark in color and rich in aroma, but not burned. Then the roasted roots can be ground into powder in a grinder as shown here, or on a stone metate. I really enjoy the dandyroot flavor, but the main reason I drink it is to promote healthy liver function. When constipated, the dandyroot drink helps to get my system moving again. Dandelions are not necessarily laxative, but stimulating the liver facilitates better digestion as well as better health overall, so that I can better fight off the colds the kids bring home from school. I also like to eat dandelion greens. At home I frequently add a few leaves to my salads or pile them on thick on a hamburger, veggieburger or egg sandwich.
The Dandelion Celebration
A Guide to Unexpected Cuisine
Edited by Peter Gail, Ph.D.
Dandelions are one of the most nutritious plants on earth, yet every year people senselessly spend millions of dollars on chemicals trying to kill them. Then they go to the grocery store and spend still more money on lifeless, nutritionless lettuce for the table. But now, with Peter Gail's book, The Dandelion Celebration: A Guide to Unexpected Cuisine you can save money, eat better, and still clean up the lawn!
The Dandelion Celebration includes some of the world's best recipes for dandelion greens, flowers and roots. Peter Gail, a colleague of the late Euell Gibbons, collected the recipes over a twenty-year period from friends, colleagues and students. The recipes cover everything from soups and casserole to ice cream and wine.
On average, I eat about one dandelion every two days through the growing season, usually on sandwiches. Dandelions are about the first and the last available greens. I keep a simple digging tool in a handy spot and harvest the dandelions root and all. Most of the time I put the greens on a sandwich. The roots I clean and dry. When I save up enough roots I roast them and grind them for a delicious coffee substitute.
I highly recommend The Dandelion Celebration as a tool for better health and better living. With the aid of this book, you too will be able to prepare gourmet meals from your backyard weeds, and you will eat healthier than ever before! The Dandelion Celebration. ISBN: 1-879863-51-0. 1990, 1994. 156 pages.
|The Dandelion Celebration (Out of Print until July 2010)|
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