Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Honoring Dandelions on Weed Appreciation Day

by Deb Baker/Hannah Reed

Today, on Weed Appreciation Day, it's only fitting that I pay homage to my favorite one - the lowly dandelion. As a kid, I rubbed its flower on my skin to turn it yellow. I made necklaces out of the stems. And once the flower had transformed into seeds, I blew the heck out of them, watching the tiny things soar like parachutes.

 As an adult, with my first house, my love relationship turned to hate, and my springs were spent hunting and destroying.

Now that I'm wiser and writing a beekeeping mystery series, I've gone back to loving dandelions. Did you know that every part of this beautiful weed is edible - flower, stem, root. Those seeds are food for the birds, the flowers provide nectar for honeybees, and they are loaded with vitamin C,  B6, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, the list goes on.

Two of the many ways to serve dandelions:

Saute them in olive oil like you would chard or collard. Add a little garlic and when they are ready, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of sesame oil.

Create a dandelion spring salad. Add red onion, goat cheese, a few strawberries and toss with olive oil and lemon juice. Toasted walnuts are a nice finishing touch.

But if you don't want to eat them, leave them. The critters will appreciate it.
Well, now you know about my favorite weed. What's yours?
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