...I always make a wish if I can blow all the seeds off. (Smart plants, they made subliminal suggestions to we mere humans and now we believe such things. They, in turn, get their seeds blown "'til Kingdom come". Amazing...)

The "German word for "Dandelion" is "Loewenzahn" (properly "Löwenzahn") - which means "Lion's tooth" (pretty natural if one looks at Webster's definiton. Good ole' Webster...) And in Germany they have a kids program after the same name. I saw it for the first time last week. Mr. Löwenzahn passed along all types of information about them. To add to that of knifegirl, the roots can be made into a coffee and the sap into a honey-like product.

All together nifty...

Dandelion

(Taraxacum officinale)

Perhaps the most well-known edible plant, the Dandelion gets its name from the likeness of the leaves to a lion’s tooth.

The tender young leaves that spring up in the spring are one of the first wild edibles to appear in Mother Nature’s pantry. The young leaves are excellent in a salad or eaten raw. Later in the season they take on a bitter taste and its preferable to cook them in two lots of water. Changing the water takes away all the bitterness and makes them less tough.

Dandelions are common fare for many people and are well known for their high content of vitamin A. These plants contains twenty-five more vitamin than tomato juice and fifty times more than asparagus

In the Bush

As a Fresh Vegetable: The young dandelion leaves offer a delicate taste to any salad.

As Cooked Vegetable: Later in the season, the leaves can be picked and cooked as described above. Then make an excellent addition to any stew.

As Tea: For a strong tea, simmer the leaves for about ten minutes. The resulting brew is good for colds.

As Coffee: The roots of the plant may be dried at the fireside. When they are shriveled, break them in pieces, grind between two stones, and use as ordinary coffee. One level teaspoon per cup is fine.

Home Recipes

Back to The Edible Wild

Dandelion Superstitions (so many that this flower has been called "the rustic oracle"):
  • The number of seeds remaining after you blow on the gone-to-seed flower's head is the number of children you will have.
  • The number of seeds remaining after you blow will be the time of day.
  • The number of puffs it takes to blow all the seeds off will be the time of day.
  • The number of seeds remaining will be the number of years you have left to live. (This one seems a little creepy.)
  • As freeborn says above, if you blow all the seeds off in one puff, your wish will come true.
  • If you blow all the seeds off with one puff, you will get new clothes before the end of the year.
  • If you blow three times and at least one seed remains, your true love is thinking about you.
  • As knifegirl says above, the seeds being blown away can carry a thought message to someone.
  • If you hold a blooming dandelion under someone's chin and a yellow reflection shows on their skin (or if you rub it on their neck and yellow sticks to their skin), that person likes butter. (Also said of buttercups.)
  • If you tickle a person's chin with a dandelion and they laugh, they like butter.
  • If you sniff a dandelion and your nose turns yellow, someone is in love with you.
  • If a blooming dandelion stays open all night, it is going to rain the next day.
  • Two or three dandelions in a wedding bouquet will bring prosperity to the marriage.
  • It's good luck to wear a dandelion chain if you made it yourself, but not if someone gave it to you.
  • (This one doesn't seem to go with the rest.) Picking dandelions will cause incontinence.
  • It's bad luck to pick dandelions in a cemetery and even worse luck to bring them home afterwards or give them away.


The Rolling Stones tried to do hippie peace and love in 1967. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote this nursery rhyme-like song referring to all the superstitions about blowing dandelion seeds. It was the B-side of "We Love You" and later appeared on the 1969 collection Through The Past Darkly, but the Stones don't seem to have ever performed it in concert once their short foray into psychedelia was over.

Prince or pauper, beggar man or king
Play the game with every blow you bring

Dandelion don't tell no lies
Dandelion will make you wise
Tell me if she laughs or cries
Blow away dandelion

One o'clock, two o'clock, three o'clock, four o'clock, five
Dandelions don't care about the time

Though you're older now, it's just the same
You can play this dandelion game
When you're finished with your childlike prayers
Well, you know you should wear it

Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor's life
Rich man, poor man, beautiful daughters, wives

Little girls and boys come out and play
Bring your dandelions to blow away

Blow away dandelion

Sources:

http://www.allmusic.com/
http://www.mlink.net/~ian/SODandelion.html
http://www.liquid2k.com/yeahx3/RollingstonesII.html
http://www.corsinet.com/trivia/scary.html
http://www.golfbtb.com/superstitions.htm
http://www.sandiego-books.com/flowers.htm
http://www.egregore.com/herbs/blowball.html
http://www.shee-eire.com/Herbs,Trees&Fungi/Herbs/Dandelion/Factsheet1.htm
http://www.pacificnet.net/~johnr/cgi/aesop1.cgi?hca&a5
http://www.pristine.nu/herbs/dandelion.html
http://co.essortment.com/whatisdandelio_rawm.htm
http://www.fishing-in-wales.com/wildlife/plants/spring/dandeln.htm

Ode to the Little Yellow Monsters

Ode to the Little Yellow Monsters

 

Here in New York, spring started out fantastic with mild temperature weather and just a few scattered rain storms here and there. People are finally going outside to plant flowers and other ornamental flora. Perhaps they’ll even grow some foodLawns are looking green and healthy, except for one tiny, itty bitty problem

 

The dreaded Dandelions

            Dandelion, common name for stemless perennial or biennial herbs of the composite flower family, especially the common dandelion. The species has long taproots, rosettes of deeply incised lanceolate leaves, and flat flower heads containing bright yellow florets on hollow, stemlike stalks. The root of the common dandelion contains a substance used as a laxative; the root is also roasted and ground as a substitute or adulterant for coffee. The leaves are used for salad greens and potherbs, and the flowers are sometimes used for making wine. It is occasionally cultivated, especially in Europe, but is found chiefly as a persistent weed in all temperate regions. The red-seeded dandelion is similar to the common species, but is smaller, with reddish seeds and darker down. A Russian species has some importance as a source of latex. (Microsoft ® Encarta ® Encyclopedia 2005. © 1993-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.)

            These diminutive yellow monstrosities explode all over the place in every nook and cranny that sees the light of day. On the lawn, in between the cracks of walkways, in the driveway, even after its blacktopped…No matter how we struggle with our properties it’s next to impossible to get every last Dandelion. They come back in immortal waves like a little army of yellow, hat wearing, door to door sales persons. You can frantically TRY to dig up their massive tap root; you can poison every last life bearing weed on your lawn and still, dreadfully get Dandelions. But alas, it’s completely out of control now, your neighbors have them, and it’s only a matter of time before they get you as well.

 

Exterminate Exterminate Exterminate!!!

Whoa! Wait; hold on there a second, why go through all of the trouble of killing the little monsters if you can EAT them. Yeah you saw that right, I said eat your Dandelion greens!

 

Fun for the kids…

            Children will gleefully bring their parents handfuls of dandelion blossoms from time to time, they think “Oh pretty yellow flower”. Any good parent knows enough to smile, thank them, and quietly throw the flowers away wile the child isn’t looking. But, parents can put this phenomenon to good use. Use the young flowers and leaves in recipes; kids get a kick out of it.

 

 Fried Blossoms

 

 

Step 1…

Start heating up the oil until it reaches 375 degrees in temperature, in the mean time...

Step 2…

Take the dandelion blossoms and snip off as much of the greenery as possible without the flower falling apart, because the greenery is bitter.

Hint: The bitterness comes from that white liquid flowing from the stems. It is a latex substance, in small amounts it is harmless but it taste REALLY bad and can have a mild laxative effect. As the dandelion flower matures it produces higher quantities of this substance, this is why you want to use young, new, short stemmed dandelions.

Step 3…

After you make sure you have cleaned away as much of the bitter greenery you can, take the flowers and clean them in cool, salted water. This does three things; cleans, reduces any bitterness left and removes any insects (how fun lol).

Step 4…

Blot each flower dry on a paper towel and prepare the batter with milk, egg, flour, salt and pepper.

Step 5…

Dip each flower into the batter and then drop them into the oil, taking care not to splash yourself with the oil, of course.

Step 6…

Drain on absorbent paper; then sprinkle with more salt to taste. Serve immediately.

 

(Adapted from Mountain Breeze Kitchen at http://www.mountain-breeze/kitchen/dandelions/1.html)

 

 

 

 

 

DANDELION REBELLION  © David Cale   www.imagesofthejourney.com
 
I stopped for lunch in the park 
and found the grass overrun 
by cheerful yellow explosions of
those rebel dandelions
 
Comrades, I'm sure of those
that laugh at me 
from my suburban lawn.
 
Later 
in a shift of time
they will
have matured
(some say gone to seed)
so that the wind
can take their wisdom
and sow rebellion
 
          in 
                               
                  other                             
                                    
                              conformist
 
                                                             lawns 
 
                                                                                          *  *
 

Dandy Lines: Virtues of the Common Dandelion



I can never look at, or think of a Dandelion without thinking of my mother and smiling to myself at her zany, shy sense of humor: she has always referred to this delighful little plant as Dandy-Lines, on account of the curly scallopped leaves. The plant has been called by many names, but I think my mother's is the most flattering and endearing.

Oh! I will take you back, Kathleen
To where your heart will feel no pain
And when the fields are fresh and green
I'll take you to your home again!

The plant which we commonly refer to as the Dandelion is a great little friend. It may be found throughout the United Sates, Europe and Eurasia. Every part of the Dandelion is edible and the plant contains many pharmacologically active compounds and is widely used in herbal medicine throughout the world, having a millenary tradition in most civilizations. Native Americans have always made use of the Dandelion, and still do.

The Dandy Line is known for its ability to treat jaundice, gall bladder inflammation and cirrhosis. The dandelion also benefits the digestive system by acting as a mild laxative, increasing appetite, and improving digestion. It is also, notably, a mild but effective diuretic and is used to treat liver upsets. Dandelion is also effective in the treatment of urinary tract infections.

Dandelion is the common English name for Taraxacum officinale or Taraxacum erythrospermum, the two main species. It is of the same botanical tribe as chicory, Cichorieae, some of which characteristics it shares—but in a gentler, kinder way. Cichorieae include lettuce, chicory, dandelion, and salsify. The humble Dandelion has been held in great repute by a great many cultures and this has spawned a myriad fanciful names. Many languages, including English, derive the name from the old French Dent-de-Lion, although the plant is referred to in modern French as Pissenlit, which in turn gave rise to the English folk name Pissabed. The greeks call the plant κλέφτης which means thief, on the fanciful basis that the seed-bearing parachutes are hard to catch once airborne! The Latin name, Taraxacum is a transliteration from the medieval Arabic term tarashaquq. In Italian, this has become Tarassaco, while regional names such as Piscialetto and Pisciacane also exist.

Dandelions are good eating—from the leaves to the bright yellow flowers—and even down to the long taproot that, dried and roasted, makes a very pleasant ersatz coffee which has a full-bodied roundness and a nutty flavour. The root is also a very flavorsome addition to stews and soups, while larger specimens may be used as a vegetable: they are reminiscent of salsify. The young tender leaves, preferably picked in wet weather, make excellent salad greens and have a pleasant bitter vein: excellent mixed with Rocket and Lamb's Lettuce. The tougher, mature leaves, are excellent cooked, either simply steamed and served with butter, or olive oil and lemon juice; they are also good sautéed with olive oil, garlic and some dried chili pepper: a perfect accompaniment for good pan-fried Italian style sausages.

The bright yellow flowers are delicately superb, dipped in a tempura batter and deep-fried with the stalks on, in a light neutral oil, such as rapeseed, cottonseed or sunflower seed. Dandelions are used to make Dandelion Wine and, together with Burdock, are one of the ingredients of root beer. At least one Belgian brewery makes a seasonal beer which contains dandelion flowers. In Poland, a flavoured syrup is made, consisting of sugar boiled with water, dandelion flowers and lemon juice, which is claimed to be very beneficial for the liver.

And finally, a bit of trivia: four dandelion flowers are the emblem of Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, whose citizens celebrate Spring with an annual Dandelion Festival.



I am indebted to Tem42 who, by posting his piece Pissabed, put me in mind of my mother and her great love of the Dandy-Line and of plants in general. Here's looking at her, where'er she may be!

Dan"de*li`on (?), n. [F. dent de lion lion's tooth, fr. L. dens tooth + leo lion. See Tooth, n., and Lion.] Bot.

A well-known plant of the genus Taraxacum (T. officinale, formerly called T. Dens-leonis and Leontodos Taraxacum) bearing large, yellow, compound flowers, and deeply notched leaves.

 

© Webster 1913.

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