Ooh, I want to be a tiny creature rolling around in the sunny yellow softness of Taraxacum Officinale!
Did the people of Atlantis really use the dandelion for food and to make exotic elixirs? I don’t know for sure, but what a cool part of the legendary story! Springtime bursts with these little beauties in fields and lawns, and every year they bring to my mind the memory of childhood. I can close my eyes and still feel the grass between my toes as I took flight, with energy and madness, toward the swing set, the cool heads of dandelion clusters cushioning my toes…. my sisters and I rubbing each others’ noses with the silky yellow dust…. They are cherished in many countries for their health benefits and tastiness. Here in the US, dandelions sometimes get a bad rap as a “weed” or a “nuisance”, but as long as they haven’t been sprayed by weed-killers, they are delightful and nutritious!
The word “dandelion” comes from the French Dent de Lion, which means “lion’s teeth”. All parts of the plant have been used for various things, such as the roots, which can be dried and ground for a coffee-type beverage. Dandelion greens were steeped by pioneers for a healthy spring tonic to replenish vitamins after the long winter. The blossoms are good for your heart, and dandelions have substantial amounts of calcium, potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. The best edible dandelions should be picked where the grasses grow tall and free as “yard dandelions” that have been cut are more bitter. Be sure to gather the leaves before the flowers bloom for the best flavor. The oil of the Dandelion is very good for massage. As we are always looking for creative ways to paint, we are going to try painting with dandelion flowers as paintbrushes too. Cool!
4 Steps To A Beautiful Day With Children:
1. Find and pick some dandelions and make fairy crowns! Simple make a small slit in the stem and poke another stem through it. Continue on until a chain is made. Or, take 3 flowers and braid the stems. When one stem gets too short, add another one, and so on.
2. Dance in the sun!! “Grow” up from the ground like a flower and sway in the breeze…
3. Gather enough flower heads to strip the yellow parts into 2 cups.
4. When it is time to go inside, make Dandelion Flower Cookies! (Recipe to follow).
Dandelion Flower Cookie Recipe:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup dry oatmeal
1/2 cup dandelion flowers
Be sure to remove the yellow flower parts from the green parts (compost the green parts). Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix oil & honey, then beat in the 2 eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, oatmeal and dandelion flowers. Drop batter by tablespoons onto oiled cookie sheets. Bake 10-15 minutes. Cool and enjoy!
Thank you Kimberly Gallagher for this wonderful cookie recipe found at LearningHerbs.com. I highly recommend this site for lots of great herbal ideas, remedies and free stuff. Also, have you ever wished that waaaay back when you were, say 5, that someone had taught you about plants, herbs and natural remedies? Check out LearningHerb’s kids book series: Herb Fairies A Magical Tale of Plants & Their Remedies! I can’t wait to get them for Captain.
For a fabulous online source of natural dandelion supplies and information, bulk herbs, and sooo much more, please visit one of my favorite stores on Earth: Mountain Rose Herbs!
Click here for a free printable dandelion coloring page.
From all the way up here in Sequoia National Forest, we are wishing you a beautiful springtime. As they say in the song, “These are the good old days!”