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Ode to the Humble Dandelion

By Nan

April 28, 2009

When I was a young girl, Spring was ushered in with freshly caught rainbow trout and dandelion salad. My dad and I got up early on the first day of fishing season and caught our limit. Mom would have some tender young dandelions already picked over so she could put them together in a salad. Oh what a wonderful lunch that was! I still love the taste of fresh young dandelions. Picked early in the season, they are tender and mild and delicious in a salad or steamed. The flowers can be made into a delicious white wine that is easy to make. I know, because I have made it many times. Wine is essentially fruit, water, and sugar. The fruit or blooms have natural yeast which makes the wine ferment. Dandelions, they say, are rich in vitamins and minerals. I know they make me feel better after eating them. When gathering dandelions, or any other edible greens, make sure that the area is free from pesticides and you are certain that it is indeed, the green that you had in mind. There are many good herb books and wild green books available. If in doubt, check it out. I hope that you will be able to enjoy some wild greens this Spring!

The following is my great-grandmother's recipe for dandelion salad. This is the one that I use to this day.

Dandelion Salad:

Salad enough for 4-6 people

3 gallons of fresh, young dandelions. (I use a sharp knife and cut them just below the surface of the soil)

2 cups water

1/2 cup cider vinegar

3/4 lb. salt pork

7 hard boiled eggs

Pick over, wash, and chop the dandelions.

Cut up the salt pork in small pieces and fry until crisp. Set aside the fat that is drained off.

Boil water, vinegar and about 1/3 of the fat that was drained off.

Mix boiling liquid with the dandelions, stir well and put a tightly fitting lid on so the salad will wilt.

Add sliced boiled eggs and salt to taste.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!