If you’re in the Eastern part of North America then I’m willing to bet that the first flower the you ever picked for your mom was either a daisy or a dandelion. While much maligned by those who want a yard that looks like a putting green the humble dandelion is a wild edible plant that just keeps giving.
Living in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia means that I grew up listening to my grandparents generation singing the praises of the dandelion. Every Spring the rural yards were dotted with happy yellow flowers. I remember hearing one of the other kids comment that it looked like pieces of sun fell off and took root.
Even though the local reputation for dandelion was a positive one we didn’t consume it in our house. It wasn’t until went on a wilderness survival camp in Civil Air Patrol that I tried it for the first time by nibbling on the leaves and flowers. The leaves are a little bitter. The flowers had a dry texture that didn’t really appeal to my tastes at that time. I was aware of dandelion as a wild edible plant but that first experience with the flower kept me focused on the leaves.
It wasn’t until I got really bad sick with pancreatitis and liver problems that I tried anything more than a few nibbles of the leaves or stem. I had read in a few manuals that dandelion was good for the liver. I began to keep dandelion tea on hand. I can’t credit it with curing me completely because I also took the medicine that my doctor prescribed. But do think it helped me and every so often I enjoy a cup or two for maintenance. ( I am not trained herbalist or medical professional of any kind. If you’re sick please seek a professional for advice. I’m only telling you about my own experiences with dandelion)
The roots of the dandelion are said to make an excellent coffee substitute when roasted. While it might look like coffee and even taste like coffee it has no caffeine. That makes it an unsuccessful substitute for coffee in my opinion. But it’s fine as its own thing.
Speaking of that tap root, it’s very long. A dandelion root can get as long as eighteen inches. And it’s great at breaking through compressed soil and pulling up nutrients that locked up deep underground. Left alone, the dandelion can help revitalize overworked land.
And as we all know it’s plentiful! It’s odd to me that in some parts of society humans spray poison in the yard to prevent the dandelion from growing for free but go to store and buy salad that’s shipped in from far away. The dandelion tea that I mentioned earlier had to purchased because it was the dead of winter and there was no wild ones to be found. For organic dandelion at a specialty store the price was $6.00 per box. Something to think about before spraying the lawn with Roundup.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention the Dandelion Festival in White Sulphur Springs next month. It’s a pretty big celebration in honor of the happy yellow flowers who pop up in Spring. The festival features one of Appalachia’s most unique products; dandelion wine. I’m not really a wine connoisseur so I can’t really judge the quality of the wine however it does have a great reputation as both a wine and a tonic. The festival itself consists of parades, music and handcrafted items of all kinds.
Last but not least, Dandelions are a source of wishes. Think real hard about your wish and blow on the seed head. The seeds will carry your wishes to heaven.
Make a wish and blow!
⚠️Please remember that my blog is about the photos and that Forage Friday is only intended to entertain you and not to make you an expert forager.⚠️
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