Wednesday, May 11, 2011

dandelion season.

Spring is here. And with that comes fresh greens from the garden as well as foraging for all kinds of good things nature has to offer. One of the closest and easiest things to forage is dandelions. I don't have to go far at all. I can find them in my own yard. Yesterday we had a sunny morning, a hot day ahead, and lots of dandelions in bloom.

To pick dandelions is easy - we needed a few quarts of flowers for several recipes, so we just plucked the heads right off. It is best to pick the dandelions early in the day - before full heat and before they wilt or close up. I know this is pretty obvious, but only pick from organic lawns -not anywhere that has been sprayed - and best to stay back from busy roads or where you know animals (dogs) have been doing their business.

What we wanted was enough dandelions for lemonade!

We found a really good recipe here via a Facebook friend - but since I am biologically incapable of ever following a recipe exactly I have my own version. ;)

1 quart of fresh dandelion flowers
3 lemons, juiced (organic best so you can use the rind too)
2 limes, juiced
1 knob of ginger (thumb sized), thinly sliced
honey to taste
filtered room temperature water

After picking the flowers rinse and drain them in cold water. Add them to a 1/2 gallon canning jar. To that add the juice of the lemons and limes, as well as a few (clean) rinds left from the squeezing, the ginger and the honey. Fill the canning jar with room temperature filtered water.

Let it steep for a few hours. From there strain it and chill!

A loves it plain (and cold!).

G loves it with a little elderberry syrup. "Pink" lemonade.

Both are delicious!

We have some more time in this dandelion season and are working on batches of dandelion vinegar, oil and a salve. Dandelions and their greens just have so much good stuff in them it is worth it all. And if you are looking for some other ways to eat the flowers - check out these recipes. Dandelion Fritters over at Clean. And Dandelion Cookies at 5 Orange Potatoes. Yum.

What is your favorite way to enjoy dandelions?



slim pickins said...

ooooh, yum. we have been enjoying dandelion cake - i'll have to share the recipe...though we are apparently in a lull between bloomings! all the dandies around here are fluff! suddenly summer...

Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful. We'll be making this during the weekend. Thanks, Denise!

Shady Lady said...

Mmmmmm....that looks yummy. I've never made anything with dandelions. Very cool!

Stephanie said...

Wonderful! I started dandelion wine last year, but then ran out of dandelions! :( hmmph.

Debbie said...

Mmmm. We spent all day picking yesterday. So. Many. Dandelions. Making cookies today but I do have to try that lemonade. Yummers!

denise said...

We had a ton of dandelions today after the heat & storms. I picked huge bowl fulls (my neighbors surely think I'm nuts...well, maybe they already thought that -- ha!). Today we are making syrup, vinegar and oil.

Kitty Mommy said...

We started a batch of dandelion lemonade and, while the kids are blowing bubbles later this afternoon, I'm going to pick more flowers and leaves to dehydrate for tea this winter. Two quarts of flowers didn't even make a dent in our yard. Maybe some infused oil to see if it helps with Mike's elbows and wrists.

Anonymous said...

I love this, I wish we still had dandelions blooming here! I'm filing away for next spring...

Helena said...

Dandelion lemonade! Now that's just magic.

I remember my dad munching away on dandelion leaves when I was 7. It's one of those crystal clear memories you sometimes get blessed with. Your photos brought me right back. Thank you so much for that, Denise.

And now I want to find me some lovely yellow (and organic) flowers! I'm inspired :)

Stephanie said...


I haven't ever made it, and I was too distracted this round to collect dandelions (even for my wine). Maybe the next round!!

Shady Lady said...

I've never made anything with dandelions. In fact, I'd never heard of it until a couple of years ago! Looks delish!!

Julie said...

We just may try this today as Kyan already wants to make lemonade and I spotted a big patch of dandelions out in the garden. I hope the bees don't mind:)

Anonymous said...

I love this post and all your pictures!

I've eaten dandelions but never in lemonade! I'll have to try that.

I love Madison this time of year when all the dandelions are in bloom.

People who fight them in their lawns are crazy, in my opinion. Putting pounds of toxins on a lawn to kill something so healthy and beautiful? Insanity.

Melissa said...

Oh yes, dandelion lemonade sounds quite nice! And your pictures are lovely as always.

Francesca said...

blossom lemonade sounds wonderful!