DANDELION RECIPES

Dandelion Soup

I tried this one on the family this weekend and we agreed that although it was not the best soup we had ever drunk, it was quite palatable and tasty.

 

There is a traditional soup in France, creme de pissenlits, which balances dandelion’s spiciness and subtle bitterness with other savory flavors. It is delicious, and in my opinion is the perfect way to eat dandelion greens. The traditional French recipe uses Dijon mustard. I think it adds some lovely depth, but you may prefer it without.

 

INGREDIENTS
2 pounds (about 6 cups) dandelion greens, trimmed and washed
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
4 cups vegetable stock
2 large leeks, white and light parts only, cleaned and sliced
1 carrot, cleaned and diced
2 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Dandelion buds and/or flower petals for garnish

1. If using more mature or very bitter tasting greens, blanch them in a pot of boiling salted water, then drain and squeeze out the excess water, chop and set aside.

2. Heat butter or oil in a large pot over medium high heat, add greens, carrot and leeks and cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes.

3. Add stock and simmer for about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and whisk in milk, cook stirring frequently, until slightly thickened.

4. Puree mix in a tightly-covered blender until smooth, taking care with the hot liquid. Season with salt and pepper, and add Dijon if you like.

5. Serve in bowls and garnish with flowers or buds.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/cream-of-dandelion-soup-recipe.html#ixzz1JrKEwxNU

 This recipe is one I am going to try out on the family

 Use young, tender leaves.

Like other leafy greens, dandelion greens are an outstanding source of vitamins A and K. To tame the greens’ natural bitterness, cook them with dried fruit, toasted nuts, and olive or nut oil.

Here’s a 15-minute recipe:

Dandelion Greens with Currants and Pine Nuts

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • About 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. dandelion greens, ends trimmed, roughly chopped (about 2½ qts.)
  • 1/8 tsp. each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. each dried currants and toasted pine nuts
  • Lemon wedges (optional)

1. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring, about 30 seconds.

2. Add dandelion greens in batches, turning frequently with tongs. Increase heat to medium-high, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, turning with tongs, until greens are wilted and tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.

3. Add currants and pine nuts and cook 1 minute more. Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with about 1 tbsp. more oil. Serve with a squeeze of lemon if you like.

Per serving: 113 Cal., 62% (70 cal.) from fat; 2.7 g protein; 7.9 g fat (1 g sat.); 11 g carbo (2.9 g fiber); 96 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

3 more ways with dandelion greens:

1. Sauté with spinach and layer into your favorite vegetarian lasagne.

2. Toss in a salad with sliced apples, blue cheese, and toasted walnuts.

3. Add chopped greens to pasta during the last minute of cooking, then mix with parmesan and toasted almonds.

 

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HISTORY OF DANDELIONS

Dandelions are thought to have evolved about thirty million years ago in Eurasia. They have been used by humans for food and as an herb for much of recorded history.In spite of our general attitudes toward dandelions; they’ve survived the test of time. Also known as swine’s snout, yellow gowan, Irish daisy and peasant’s cloak, the dandelion has enjoyed allies since the 10th century. Dandelion was recommended in the works of Arab physicians in the 11th century and in an herbal written by the physicians of Myddfai in Wales in the 13th century.

Dandelion was not mentioned in Chinese herbals until the 7th century CE, nor did it appear in Europe until 1265.   While Western herbalists separate the leaves and the root, the Chinese use the whole plant.

Dandelion has a long history of traditional use in many systems of medicine in the treatment of hepatobiliary problems. The root is traditionally used to treat liver and spleen ailments 

Dandelion is used both as a food as well as a beverage. Dandelion root is often used as a substitute for coffee. The young leaves of the Dandelion plant make a useful addition to a salad.

Historically it was prized for a variety of medicinal properties, and contains a wide number of pharmacologically active compounds.  Dandelions were used as folk remedies in North America, Mexico and China. Culturally they were used to treat infections, bile and liver problems, as well as cancers, and as a diuretic. There is evidence to suggest dandelions may have anti-inflammatory effects and assist with urinary tract infections in women. Dandelion pollen may cause allergic reactions when eaten, or adverse skin reactions in sensitive individuals. Due to its high potassium level, dandelion may also increase the risk of hyperkalemia when taken with potassium-sparing diuretics.

 In the doctrine of signatures the bitter tasting leaves represented the liver and the yellow flower aligned to the bile colouring

 1485 – In folkloric China, India and Russia, dandelion was an effective liver tonic. In the 10th century, Arab physicians relied on dandelion as a laxative, diuretic and liver tonic. In 1485, European physicians used the leaves and roots of dandelions as diuretics .

They were introduced to North America by early European immigrants. Moreover, two of these three varieties are figured respectively by Anton Pinaeus in 156Í, and by Dodonaeus in 1616.Thus in Vilmorin, Andrieux et Cie’s seed-catalogue 1616, three distinct varieties of dandelion are figured. Upon the grounds of the NY experiment station, there are to be found growing wild, under conditions which seemingly preclude the possibility of their being escapes from cultivation, dandelions corresponding very closely to these three varieties.  Frontier healers recommended dandelion as a spring tonic, and it is credited with saving the lives of the pioneers in winter because of its high vitamin content.

Native Americans used it for many reasons, including treating skin problems such as acne, eczema, and hives. The Pillager-Ojibwa made a dandelion root tea as a treatment for heartburn, while the Cherokee used the tea to calm nerves. The Iroquois used dandelion for a wide variety of conditions, including anaemia, constipation, pain, and water retention. Many tribes chewed the dried sap like chewing gum and even roasted the root to make a coffee substitute.

The juice of the plant’s root is still used by herbalists to treat diabetes. It is also prescribed as a mild laxative and is considered one of the best herbs for building up the blood

A strong diuretic, its properties are absorbed through the skin. Young children who handle the flowers too much will have nocturnal enuresis, or wet the bed. This was the name given to it in former times (Wet-the-beds), and obviously recognized before the active principles in the plant were discovered and chemically isolated.

The dandelion was used in the New Mexico region of the US since it was introduced by the Spanish around 1820. Some tribal remedies included boiling the blooms in water until the water turned a bright yellow. The liquid was then allowed to sit outside overnight and a glassful drunk every morning for a month to cure heart trouble. Others ground the leaves and applied the paste to broken bones and wrapping the area with bandages encrusted with fresh leaves to speed healing. The leaves could also be ground and added to dough to be applied to bad bruises to “take the blood out”.

In 1748, a traveller in French Canada discovered that the roots of the dandelion were used in salad as a tonic.

In the mid-18th century in Pennsylvania, a large group of Mennonites brought the dandelion with them when they fled from religious persecution in Germany. They used the roots mainly for kidney and liver problems, manifested by the yellowing of the skin. The Shakers, in the mid-19th century US, also used the herb for liver problems.

Dandelion is used both as a food as well as a beverage. Dandelion root is often used as a substitute for coffee. The young leaves of the Dandelion plant make a useful addition to a salad.

This drink apparently first appeared in England in 1265, and was made from fermented dandelion and burdock roots. 1485 – In folkloric China, India and Russia, dandelion was an effective liver tonic. In the 10th century, Arab physicians relied on dandelion as a laxative, diuretic and liver tonic. In 1485, European physicians used the leaves and roots of dandelions as diuretics .

During WWII, dandelions were cultivated for the latex extracted from the roots. The latex was used to make rubber. In Dec 29, 1941 – “war machine may be rolling along two years from now on rubber tires made from Ohio-grown dandelions. The National Farm Council announced today that It had discovered a rubber-bearing dandelion, known as kok-sagyz, which will produce synthetic rubber.”  Russian Dandelions May Be Answer To Rubber Shortage . Related web pages

 

1. http://www.wildcrafted.com.au/Botanicals/Dandelion.html

Dandelion Etymology

DANDELION ETYMOLOGY
The genus name Taraxacum is derived from the Greek taraxos (disorder), and akos (remedy).  The officinale indicates that this was once an official remedy. The name dandelion is derived from its original Greek genus name leontodon, meaning lion’s teeth. 
 Many sources state that the name dandelion is derived from the French dent-de lion or lions tooth this may refer to the jagged edges of the leaves.  This French name may well have derived from the Greek. Several other European languages share this meaning, such as the Welsh dant y llew, Italian dente di leone, Catalan dent de lleó, Spanish diente de león, Portuguese dente-de-leão,Norwegian Løvetann, Danish Løvetand and German Löwenzahn.

In reference to the plant’s diuretic properties its old English folk-name was ‘piss-a-bed ‘ and the French still call the plant pissenlit, (or pisse au lit Fr vernacular) as do the Italians  piscialletto.  In various north-eastern Italian dialects the plant is known as pisacan (“dog pisses”), combining its diuretic qualities and referring to how common they are found at the side of pavements.

 In several European languages the seed head stage of the plant is celebrated in its name. For example Pusteblume German for “blowing flower”), soffione (Italian for “blowing”; in some northern Italian dialects), dmuchawiec (Polish, derived from the verb “blow”), одуванчик (Russian, derived from the verb “blow”). Incidentally this term is also used to refer to elderly persons explained as those so frail that a breath of wind might blow them away

In other languages the plant is named after the white sap found in its stem, e.g. Mlecz (derived from the Polish word for “milk”), mælkebøtte (Danish for “milk pot”) kutyatej (Hungarian for “dog milk”), маслачак (derived from the Serbian word маслац, meaning “butter)] Also the Lithuanian name kiaulpienė can be translated as “sow milk”], and similarly, in  Latvian it is called ‘pienene, the word being derived from piens – milk.

The alternative Hungarian name gyermekláncfű (“child’s chain grass”), refers to the habit of children to pick dandelions, remove the flowers, and make links out of the stems by “plugging” the narrow top end of the stem into the wider bottom end.

In Macedonian, it’s called глуварче, stemming from the word глув, which means deaf, because of a traditional belief that dandelion parachutes can cause deafnesss.

In Finnish and Estonian, it is called voikukka and võilill, respectively, meaning “butter flower”, referring to its buttery colour

In Dutch it is called paardenbloem, meaning “horse-flower”.]

In Chinese it is called pú gōng yīng (蒲公英), meaning flower that grows in public spaces by the riverside.] In  Japanese, it is tanpopo (タンポポ?).

Dandelion myths, legends and folklore

DANDELIONS MYTHS AND FOLKLORE

 

Dandelions are one of the most colourful, profuse and perverse plants. With such characteristics as these, it is to be expected that a number of myths and legends have grown up around these plants. Dandelions have been used for food and medicine for many years. As a consequence of their usefulness and bright colour most of the symbols and myths surrounding them are positive.

  Woven into a wedding bouquet, they are meant to be good luck for a newly married couple. When dandelions appear in dreams, they are thought to represent happy unions. They are also considered to be symbols of hope, summer and childhood.  Many beliefs centre on dandelions answering questions or bringing good luck. When the seeds are blown of a dandelion it was said to carry thoughts and affections to a loved one. (1)

 In medieval rituals, dandelions being the colour of gold were used to predict whether a child would be rich when the flower was held beneath the chin,a the golden glow indicated the child would be rich. In 18th century England children held the dandelion under their chin and the more golden the glow the sweeter and kinder they were.(1)


One legend surrounding these flowers was that the tallest dandelion stalk that a child could find in the early spring will show how much taller they will grow in the coming year. Dandelions have also been used as a variation on the daisy petal plucking past time of “he loves me, he loves me not” If you blow on a white dandelion head and every seed scatters then you are loved. If some seeds still cling to the stalk, then your intended has reservations about the relationship.
.

 It is also said that if you make a wish immediately before blowing on dandelion, your wish just might come true. Another belief was that the number of seeds left after blowing the seed head indicated the number of children that a girl would have in later life.(5)

According to Scott Cunningham, author of over thirty books on herbs and Wicca, Dandelion is said to increase psychic abilities when taken as a tea. A tea of the roots left steaming and placed beside the bed will call spirits. Dandelion buried in the northwest corner of the house will bring favourable winds.(5)

Others claim that the number of seeds remaining after blowing the seed head, are how many years you have left to live. A common belief is that the number of seeds left is the time, this gave rise to the term dandelion clock for the seed head. The dandelion flower opens an hour after sunrise and closes at dusk giving rise to the belief that it is a ‘Shepherd’s clock’(3).

 The property of the pappus hairs to close when moist has led to another belief. The dandelion is an excellent barometer, one of the commonest and most reliable. It is when the blooms have seeded and are in the fluffy, feathery condition that its weather prophet facilities come to the fore. In fine weather the ball extends to the full, but when rain approaches, it shuts like an umbrella. If the weather is inclined to be showery it keeps shut all the time, only opening when the danger from the wet is past.(4)

  However, dandelions are symbols of grief and the Passion of Christ in theological symbolism as well as being one of the bitter herbs of the Passover. (6)

The sticky white sap was used as a folklore cure for warts and corns (1). . As all parts of the plant may be eaten dandelion is a valuable survival tool.

  Dandelions were intentionally transplanted from Europe over to the New World in the early days of the American Colonies they have become ubiquitous and spread across the continent. Dandelions are used as folk remedies in North America, Mexico and China. More of that in medicinal uses of dandelions

 

  1. 1.       http://www.healthsmartsantafe.com/article/pdf/article-317.pdf
  2. 2.       Unusual Vegetables, Something New for this Year’s Garden, Rodale Press Emmaus, PA.
  3. 3.       Folkard (448. 309), from “The Child and Childhood in Folk-Thought,” by Alexander F. Chamberlain
  4. 4.       Camping For Boys by H.W. Gibson

5. Dandelion Magick: Wonder Plant of Mind, Body and Spirit http://www.suite101.com/content/dandelion-magic-a24342#ixzz1JKJt5SlX

6. http://home.intekom.com/herbsorganic/pages/working%20on/dandelion/dandelion.htm

DANDELIONS WEED OF THE WEEK Biology and classification (via changinglifestyleblog)

I think my life would be boring to write about so I am writing about what I am really passionate about which is plants.

DANDELIONS WEED OF THE WEEK Biology and classification Taraxacum is a large genus of flowering plants in the Family Asteraceae. They are native to Eurasia and two species are found worldwide. They have very small flowers (florets) collected together into a composite flower head. Some species produce seeds without the need for fertilisation apomictic these include the common dandelion Taraxacum officiale. It is possible that many species such as dandelions originally came from landslides moraines beac … Read More

via changinglifestyleblog

DANDELIONS WEED OF THE WEEK Biology and classification

Taraxacum is a large genus of flowering plants in the Family Asteraceae. They are native to Eurasia and two species are found worldwide. They have very small flowers (florets) collected together into a composite flower head. Some species produce seeds without the need for fertilisation apomictic these include the common dandelion Taraxacum officiale.

It is possible that many species such as dandelions originally came from landslides moraines beaches, dunes or similar habitats. It may be that the post glacial period was when many of the micro species of dandelion became differentiated especially as their production of seeds exhibits features such as apomixes that are often met with in artic or sub artic situations.

Dandelions are unaffected by day length and can flower at any time of the year.

Dandelions have been found growing at heights up to 2700 feet above sea level. Seedlings have been raised from bird excreta and therefore the seed can pass through the digestive tract of a bird unharmed.

 All dandelions have a basal rosette of leaves. Each year leaves are produced above those of the previous season, but the root undergoes a periodic longitudinal contraction often amounting to between 20 to 30% of its length which consequently ensures the leaf rosette remains at ground level.

Incidentally it is this feature that enables the dandelion to suppress other herbage in the short turf around. Dandelions have a milky juice that exudes on wounding and, like blood, congeals to form a protective scab. They also show a capacity to regenerate from small portions, even the lowest of the fleshy tap root. The leaf form of common dandelion is extremely variable. In the seedling and juvenile stage the leaves may be devoid of any lobbing and scarcely toothed. As the plant becomes older the successive leaves develop more and more lobes with the typically back curved segments. However, if the rosette of an adult plant be removed, the leaves of the new shoots revert to the juvenile form.

 

From the centre of this rosette arise the flower heads; these are borne upon hollow leafless tubular stems and each consists of numerous strap shaped yellow to orange coloured flowers enclosed by a number of protective green bracts. The flower heads close at night, when the protective bracts completely ensheathe the flowers; they open in response to light stimulus and high temperatures, a reaction that takes an hour to complete.  A rosette may produce several flower stems at a time. After flowering, the flower head dries for approximately 24-48 hours. The dried petals and stamens drop off, the sepals recurve and the parachute opens. Common dandelion produces seed heads that contain up to 400 or more achenes, but the average is about 180. Germination which is often over 90% can occur soon after being shed but these seedlings do not flower until the following season. The reproductive capacity of the common dandelion in one season is usually about 2,000.

 

Red veined dandelion Taraxacum spectibilia is a low short growing perennial, the leaves are often dark spotted with a reddish stalk and midrib. Flower heads are 20-35mm the outer florets are sometimes reddish or purplish beneath. The achene body narrows gradually at the apex where it passes into the beak; And sepal like bracts broad and often closely pressed but not recurved. It flowers from April to August in moist and wet places often in mountains.

 Taraxacum palustria has narrower leaves than the others which are very finely toothed or untoothed. It is neither spotted nor reddish. The sepal like bracts are broad and closely pressed with a pale broad margin. In  Taraxacum  paludosum the fruit passes abruptly into the beak It flowers between April and June and can be found in stream sides, marshes and fens.

 The other two dandelions have in the adult state, leaves with normally quite pronounced lobes, often of unequal size and the larger curved towards the base of the leaf-blade. In both the outer bracts are usually curved backwards. Taraxacum vulgare  is a low short perennial with flower heads 30-35mm outer florets sometimes  grey violet beneath sometimes reddish or reddish purple never red. Sepal like bracts are broader than lesser dandelion but narrower than red veined dandelion. Erect or recurved. It flowers all year, but especially in April to June. The colour can be variable but not purplish red.  Its habitat consists of grassy and waste places. It is common throughout Europe.

Our common dandelion Taraxacum officiale which flourishes on a diversity of soil types especially the heavier chalk ones, has the familiar golden flower heads that are often 2 inches across. On the drier types of soil, especially the sandy ones, another dandelion is sometimes common; this has smaller flower heads, often less that an inch across and the colour is pale yellow. From strains of the common dandelion with small flower heads this small dandelion (Taraxacum laevigatum) can be distinguished by the excrescence on the outer face of the tip of the inner bracts, which give these a split appearance. Lesser dandelion Taraxacum erythrosperma has smaller flowers 15-25mm sepal like bracts narrowly apressed, the tips of the inner bracts appearing forked. It flowers throughout Europe between April and June in dry grassy and bare places especially on lime.

 

References

Salisbury E Weeds and Aliens Collins London 191-193(1961)

Fitter R Fitter A Blamey M the wildflowers of Britain and Northern Europe Collins  254 (1978)

Phillips  EP the weeds of South Africa Union department of agriculture (1938)