Saturday, May 31, 2008

God Bless the Lowly Dandelion

Yesterday I read an article by Noel Taylor in the Ottawa Citizen concerning the lowly Dandelion and it brought back pleasant memories of warm summer evenings sipping Dandelion Wine (and waking up the next morning with a 'God-awful' hangover).

Dandelion Dandelion Seeds

When I was a youngster growing up in the country the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) was the most colouful Spring and Summer flower. Once it matured and had gone to seed we loved to pick the dandelion and wave it in the air just to see the seeds float away in the wind. And of course they continued to flourish in abundance every year.

When I married and moved to Ottawa I found that the lowly dandelion was held in distain. Major effort and money were expended every year to eradicate this dastardly weed. Everybody wanted pristine lawns front and back and tonnes of herbicide was poured onto lawns and parks to prevent this annual display of colour and as a result we were surrounded by hectares and hectares of mundane green.

However, with next summer's forthcoming municipal ban on pesticides my favourite flower may have a fighting change within the city boundaries. And possibly we can educate city folk to the advantages and uses of this versatile plant.

The dandelion has long been recognized as a medicinal herb and is a source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as the minerals iron, potassium, and zinc

The leaves are used in salads, sandwiches, and teas. The roots are used in coffee substitutes. The flowers are used to make dandelion wine and dandelion syrup. In fact, when I last checked there were over 700,000 sites indexed on Google which referenced Dandelion recipes.

As an interesting aside, when I was preparing this article I discovered a great duo out of Winnipeg, Manitoba known as Dandelion Wine. I strongly suggest that you drop by their web site and listen to the music.

Here's a little sample: Canadian Lady by Dandelion Wine.

Have a good one,

Don

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