Love them or hate them, they don't care. Dandelions are popping up everywhere! It might be the season you dread, or the season you adore. It's dandelion season. For some folks, that brings comfort and delight. Others? Not so much. Nevertheless, for both parties, there are many reasons to pick dandelion flowers from lawns.
The origin of the word dandelion comes from French dent de lion. It means lion's tooth, referring to the sharp leaves of the flower. The word dates back to the 1500s, prior to the flower's introduction to North America in the 1600s from Eurasia. Since its introduction to the North America, it has been grown and cultivated for medicine and food.
1. They're weeds!
Pick dandelion flowers by hand, rather than use lawn chemicals to eradicate them. Chemicals may be harmful to humans and animals. Rather than roll the dice with unknown health risks, remove dandelions manually by the root to prevent regrowth.
2. They're full of vitamins
Surprise! Yes, dandelions are actually rich in vitamins. You'll find the vitamins A, E, K, B1, B2, B6 and C in their green lion's tooth-shaped leaves. The flowers themselves are rich in vitamin A.
3. They're beautiful
To some folks, a bouquet of dandelions feels like sunshine on a warm sunny day! Collect dandelion flowers and put them in a small vase to bring cheer to your home. Allow children to help collect them.
4. Get to the roots
When dandelion flowers are pulled by their roots, they won't grow back. Some people desire the roots to create tinctures, bitters, and even coffee. Yes, you can make coffee, ground and brewed from dandelion roots!
5. You can pickle them
Prepare dandelion buds for pickling. Pick the buds off the stems and wash them. Add water, vinegar, and salt to a jar. Place the buds in the jar. Keep the jar refrigerated for immediate consumption. They taste like capers!
6. Love wine?
Try dandelion wine. Avoid the green part of the flower, otherwise wine will come out too bitter. The process involves pouring boiling water over flower petals, straining the liquid through a cheesecloth, mixing in citric juices and sugar, introducing wine yeast, and storing the liquid in a 1-gallon jug sealed with a fermentation lock. The process takes about one year for fermentation.
7. Have a healthy snack
The flower is completely edible. It's important to note, however, the stem and leaves are very bitter and are an acquired taste. Dandelion flowers aren't poisonous, but it's important to make sure flowers did not come into contact with any chemicals.
8. Make an infused oil
Pick dandelion flower heads from stems. Allow the heads to wilt overnight, then put them in a jar of olive oil. Place the jar in a sunny window for two weeks. Strain the flowers from the oil, then discard flowers. Use the oil for a massage.
9. Turn them into pancakes
We've always heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not try dandelion pancakes? Use only the heads of the flowers to create pancakes, incorporating bananas, coconut oil and milk (or non-dairy milk) into the recipe.
10. Make dandelion infused vinegar
Place flower heads in a jar of white balsamic vinegar. Put a lid on the jar and allow it to sit for up to six weeks. The yellow hue of the vinegar will become more noticeable as time goes on. The longer the jar sits, the more potent the taste.