Everything seems to be bursting forth at once, the delicious weeds and blooming trees, and the dandelion flowers with their sunny faces shouting “come pick me, come pick me!”
I ran out in a light rain this afternoon and harvested half a basket full, because tomorrow they will get mowed and my golden friends will be shorn of their rich tresses.
This spring I have been ravenously grabbing the weeds where I can and bringing them into my kitchen to put in soups and an interesting one-dish meal that includes onions and rice, eggs, and cheese, punctuated by the dark green of wilted leaves. It’s been garlic mustard and nettles, dandy leaves and jerusalem artichokes, wild lettuce and chickweed, henbit and ground ivy. Any thing that needs weeding or catches my eye that I know I can eat.
But one of my dearest loves, the dandelion, croons that siren song that can’t be ignored, and out I trot to continue my romance with that queenly little flower. Only the ants seem to be any competition. I have to be sure to shake them out of the flowers.
So I offer you a recipe or two to enjoy while the dandelions finish their spring rush. If you miss it, don’t worry. Dandelions continue to put out intermittent blooms right through to the fall, and sometimes even in December!
Dandelion Flower Cookies
Preheat oven to 375 o .
1/2 C. vegetable oil or butter, melted (1 stick)
1/2 C. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. flour, unbleached or whole grain
1 C. rolled oats
1/2 C. freshly picked dandelion flowers (take off the green sepals so that there are only yellow petals)
Blend honey and oil or butter and beat in the eggs, vanilla, and salt. Stir in flour, oatmeal, and dandelion flowers. Drop batter by teaspoonfuls onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 375 o for 20 minutes, until light brown.
Makes 40 approx. 2” cookies.
Adapted from The Dandelion Celebration by Peter Gail
Dandelion Nut Pancakes
Use organic ingredients as much as possible.
1/2 C. finely chopped nuts–pecans, walnuts, or almonds
1 ripe banana
1 large egg
10 dandelion flowers, with green ends snipped off (if a little of the green sepal remains, it’s fine)
Pinch sea salt
Mash the banana and mix in the chopped nuts and salt. Stir the egg well to mix yoke and white before adding into the mash, then mix in the dandy flowers.
Have a heavy frying pan or griddle hot and ready. Grease with butter, coconut oil, or extra virgin olive oil and drop in spoonfuls of the batter. Cook over medium heat. Serve with butter and maple syrup, if desired.
Makes 6 to 8 2″ to 3″ pancakes.
Adapted from a recipe I found online some years ago.
And finally, a wonderful way to make use of dandelion flowers is to infuse them in oil, to use for skin care products and massage. Herbalists say that dandy oil is particularly helpful for sore shoulders, and it is one of the oils Susun Weed recommends for breast massage. I wrote a post about making infused oils here.
There are many more recipes on-line and in books galore for cooking dandelions using all their various edible parts. What will you decide to make? Let me know!