Friday, April 8, 2016
Don't Kill the Dandy Dandelion
When my sons were rather young they would seek out these innocuous yellow flowers out on the lawn and gave them to me to put in a vase --- the humble dandelion. Then, as now, I thought they were rather pretty and couldn't understand why homeowners looked upon them with such disgust.
But I find that dandelions are actually quite dandy. If you look in any "edibles" handbook you will see that quite to contrary of today's thinking, these wildflowers -- yes, they are in wildflower guidebooks, not weed books --- are quite attractive. And edible.
Dandelions have vitamins A, and C in them. And being a "green," they are also good at "detoxing" the liver. In grammar school you may have been told the liver just stores excess energy and fat. It does more than that, actually; it processes and detoxes what comes into the body, from chemicals in our food and cosmetics to our doctor pills and common drugs over the counter like aspirin and Tylenol (acetaminophen). Dandelions help our overworked livers work better.
Though the bigger leaves may taste a bit bitter, like many greens (mustard greens and collard greens), the early, smaller leaves don't taste bad. If you mix them into a big salad you can hardly taste them, anyway.
At our wedding "rehearsal dinner," an outdoor affair, my soon-to-be spouse's good friend from high school brought along some dandelion wine. I think it had only been aged something like a week. It looked like muddy water and didn't taste any better. Kind of like muddy water but with a "kick" to it. His cousin Larry took some good gulps of it (and probably some other stuff too) and had a good hangover the next day. He looked rather pale at the wedding reception.
Yeah, dandelions can make living interesting. They make good natural crowns for the hair too, or fluffy bracelets.
So let them stay on the lawn for a week. They soon close up their flowers and go to seed and leave your property, till next spring. They don't hurt the lawn, so don't hurt them and poison the environment for birds and others who light on the grass.