Dandy Dandelions

Today on the radio I heard an advertisement for a local yard maintenance company, promising a great deal to come treat your lawn with some fantastic herbicides to get rid of those pesky dandelions and weeds in your lawn. I got kind of miffed, and thought I should run a Public Service Announcement on the radio begging folks to not hire this lawn service. Why? Well, of course I’m not a fan of chemically treating lawns, but really, it was my love for the much maligned dandelion that had me in a huff.
It has only been in recent times that the dandelion has gone from being a much loved ingredient for teas, jellies, salads, and even herbal remedies, to a destroyer of the perfect lawn. They are high in vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and vitamin B6. They also contain a lot of iron and potassium, as well as having folate and magnesium. ( If you are on blood thinners, consult your doctor). They are natural immune system boosters and can help balance blood sugar levels, relieve heartburn and more ( Though as with all herbal remedies, this claim has not been approved by the FDA).
Since I want an edible landscape anyway, I leave the dandelions. And to give some extra encouragement for you to leave them too, remember that they are the first food of our honeybees in spring, and what would any garden look like without pollinators?
Preparation- rinse thoroughly in cold water to float out any garden friends hiding in the plant, then try the tender leaves fresh in a salad. Try to choose younger leaves, as they are less bitter. For a break from kale or spinach, cook them like collards.
Flower heads: dip in egg, then flour with a little salt and pepper, and fry.

Dandelion Jelly:

2-4 cups dandelion petals

4 cups boiling water

3 cups sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 box pectin

  1. Cut the green part off of the flowerand put the petals in a large bowl
  2. Pour boiling water over the petals, and allow to cool for 24 hours
  3. strain liquid, squeezing the soaked petals to get as much out of them as you can- cheesecloth or a flour sack towel works for this
  4. Put 4 cups of the liquid, lemon juice and pectin into a large container and bring to a boil
  5. add sugar, bring to a boil again, for 1-2 minutes
  6. Pour into jars, and put jars in a canning boiling water bath for 10 minutes