Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The First Dandelions of Spring!

As spring rolls around (slowly here, it's been snowing) there's a plethora of wild plants out to enjoy!

A personal favorite is Dandelions, pretty, prolific, and very tasty! And of course there is no shortage around my house, I've been pulling whole plants to enjoy the roots and leaves, and gathering baskets of flowers.

Dandelion is a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. The leaves are usually enjoyed in the spring, and make a great cleansing salad. Leaf teas are used for the kidneys and as a diuretic. The roots are thought to purify blood and cleanse the liver.

The plant is also used as a natural dye, the flowers make yellows, the leaves bright greens (no surprise there), and the roots can make a rusty red, or a light tan.

The flowers are also of course a great boon to Bees, especially this year. All the flowers were slow to bloom this year with our late snows and unseasonably cold nights, these quick blooming flowers were there to feed the first emerging bees. As a gardener and a honey lover I try to support these pollinating wonders whenever I can!

 I've also enjoyed lots of dandelion tea, both flowers and roots. It's light and mellow, easy to enjoy. A little honey just makes it even more the treat. And since I can gather it myself, it's the perfect home herbal treat.

 The flowers are also noted for making wine! I've started two batches of mead with dandelions. One has cups and cups of flowers, the other has root and leaf, plus burdock and ginger for a refreshing spring brew. One more reason to be thankful for those bees!

 What's your favorite spring flower? Do you gather dandelions?
Also, I may try making Dandelion jelly


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