A classic Vintage Recipe & Explanation of the Magic It Holds
We know this sun shining plant so well. Though most of us recognize it as the biggest nuisance to our green lawns, and pastures. Loathing the spring time, because the looming spray sessions. OR for some super enthusiastic weed killers, the time spent breaking out backs a bit digging for the end of their tenacious roots. How about it’s ray of light?
What is a Weed…
What about the fact that the bees’ first source of food after a long winter away, or hibernating, is the dandelion flower… we wonder why bees are not thriving these days… Why not embrace this flower? We can listen to its signals as our first sign of growth after the long cold, winter season…? do we really need our lawns to be the priority?
These are all questions that I ask on a regular basis. I want to challenge you to wonder about them as well. Dandelions invite you to learn about what nature is working on telling us. What was happening before the era of manicuring lawns, and relentless spraying. What about modern life is because of what we think and what we have created to be acceptable.
As an herbalist, I love to see these weeds not as a nuisance, but to know them as food and medicine. As Ralph Waldo Emmerson said… ‘A weed is but a plant whose’ virtues have yet to be discovered…” Weeds that have claimed prairie lands, wastelands, sidewalk cracks and the like are many of the most powerful medicinal plants.
They are strong, relentless, and vigorous, signaling what they may do for our bodies, and a true testament to their power and strength. The dandelion, being one of my favorite plants! They are among the first that my green heart gets to play with after the winter time of slow, cold, dark days and nights.
Spring Wake Up Call
Here in the Rocky Mountains, the Dandelion is more than an encouraging sign of spring! It enlivens our souls and when invited into my morning greens that go along with eggs and bacon, my digestive system feels grateful, and encouraged to be moving again,like the bears hibernating, our systems also need some encouragement to awaken after a slumber so deep as winter time. The only way to live here in the mountains is to go with the flow of all of our seasons.
Winters are harsh and cold. Deep snow and freeze are a constant aspect of this time of year, and after the daytime, when the dark of night blankets the frozen tundra,warming up next to the fire, to find an early sleep is only going with the flow of the season. The cold is waring, and the night time calls to a deep slumber.
Feeling and living with this shows what a struggle it must have been to our foraging ancestors, the pioneers, the native Americans, and how they were forced to follow the seasons with out stipulation, but with a force of survival and instinct which many times took them away from this area to find warmer winter nights, and less tumultuous days.
During these days that are decades behind our modern times, the winter nourishment came from cured meats, dried berries and nuts that were foraged through the spring, summer and fall of the previous year. They were stored with great care and rationed according to their families, and communities.
Their struggle must have been real and true, and when these plants of early spring came through the ground, how much joy must have filled their souls. Not only to have the snow melt, but to taste something fresh again.
What an experience their systems must have known with something fresh, full of life,and most of all… bitter… the sensory organs must have gone through the roof, and their souls rejoiced with life!
IN these times, they people couldn’t fight the seasons. They couldn’t ignore what nature was telling them because the way that they lived. The resources they had all came from nature, it was everything, and they knew that they were connected to it.
No doubt, no societal influences, only community, the earth and animals that they lived with. Taraxcum officinal(dandelion) is a very stimulating aspect of spring, and of the natural rhythms of our bodies, the earth, and life.
How To Eat Dandelion
The leaf is delicious, and tender. It offers a stimulating response to our bitter receptors in our mouth, and gut. A receptor that is truly and quite completely neglected by modern diets of sweet, carbohydrate rich foods. The tenacious root of our dandy-lion is full of gut bacteria food, inulin, and simple carbohydrates starch.
It is cooling and grounding to our digestive system and instead of breaking apart into many sugars, the starch is one that feeds the bacteria in our guts. They start to crave something different when we employ healthy, mindful eating to our day to day lives.
Bitter is Better
The bitter responses in the body encourage the healthy flow of digestive juices,enzymes and acids. Our livers feel the support they are getting from the diet and encourage healthy production of its many jobs. Breaking down fats, producing bile that emulsifies them, supporting the pancreas who secretes digestive enzymes to break down foods, and thus our intestines are also able to support the uptake of vital nutrients.
Bitter is not pleasurable, but once those receptors are stimulated and we encourage their activity with bitter foods, the need for them becomes great, and we are able to tolerate their presence in our lives.
Tinctures of the leaf and root, adding greens to our salads and smoothies, and a more enlightening way to experience the dandy-lion of spring is an age-old tradition of Dandelion Wine.
Berkshire and Worcestershire England, the flowers were prepared in the following manner…
Dandelion Wine: Remedy of Anglo Saxton English Herbalists
Pour a gallon of boiling water over a gallon of dandelion flowers.
After being well stirred, cover with a blanket and let sit for 3 days. I like to use a wool blanke tover a cast iron pot.
Stir this mixture once a day for the three days.
After three days strain the mixture, and bring to a boil again, add a cup of sugar, rind of 1 Large Orange, and 2 Lemons. (I add the juice of these citrus fruits as well) Ginger sliced, and then set out to cool.
How and When
Once the liquid is cool, add a serving of active yeast. This will produce fermentation.
Cover this mixture and let stand for 2 days.
Then set in a cool place in a cask of natural materials. I use a crock that one would use for making sauerkraut.
After 2 months the remedy is ready for bottling. Put it in bottles and if carbonation is desired set these closed bottles on top of your water heater, refrigerator, or the like for some warming. This process takes up to 3 or 4 days.
After which put in the cellar, or refrigerator.
How It Can Be Added Into Your Daily Life
It isn’t as pleasant as sipping wine, but it will provide great medicinal action to your body, encouraging the enlivening of the season going into summer.
I take a quarter cup and add it to my Kombucha, or add some seltzer water, even some liquor if you want an aperitif for dinner time. Enjoy this remedy and quickening your body to the season…
Blessings my loves