nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale Weber)

with 30 comments


For a week, I have looked forward to a small celebration of the beginning of my new efforts as full-time writer.  Since the title of my writing project is ‘growing and gathering’, I wanted to mark this celebration with the gathering, preparation and eating of an ‘edible wild’.  I cannot think of a more accessible yet neglected food than dandelion greens.

Dandelion greens in spring… fallen Red Maple blossoms among the Dandelion leaves

I made my salad of freshly picked dandelion greens, garden chives and pea sprouts.  The pea sprouts are a gift from a friend in Cocagne, New Brunswick, given to me a couple of weeks ago when I did my first poetry reading and presentation on the topic of ‘growing and gathering’ at an evening gathering of  Le Groupe de développement durable du Pays de Cocagne .  The chives are from my garden, started years ago by my son when he planted his own little garden.

I picked the dandelion greens from around our front steps.  This time of year they are fresh and generally untouched by bugs.  I picked the best leaves and cleaned them in fresh water, removing any blemished bits and the stems which contain a bitter sap.

My salad was delightful.  I had it without any dressing because I wanted to taste the flavour of the greens.  The green leaves were delicious, crisp and tender at the same time.  The flavour was very pleasant with none of the bitterness you may get from older dandelion leaves.  The flavors also blended well, none overwhelming the others.  My celebratory salad is declared an unconditional success!

My Mom often used dandelion greens for food.  She always cooked hers, the way you would prepare Spinach or Swiss Chard.  I know she ate dandelion greens regularly as a child, growing up in the lean years of the 1930s.

The Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale Weber)  is easy to identify.  In summer it has a bright yellow flower with a hollow stem.  After flowering, Dandelion seeds are dispersed by wind from fluffy, spherical heads.  The leaves grow from a basal rosette and are lobed and toothy.

drawing from Franz Eugen Kohler, Koehler’s Medicinal-Plants, 1887.                        Source: Wikimedia Commons

~

~

Salad greens

~

Chives poke slim fingers

between dry leaves,

pea sprouts sway

on slender stems,

wrists and tendrils

follow sun,

a burst of dandelion leaves,

an offering

~

hands prepare a salad

a simple meal

~

~

Warning:
1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.
 
©  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

May 2, 2012 at 7:44 am

30 Responses

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  1. I love to eat dandelion. I usually “wilt” it slightly on the stove and put a bacon dressing on it.

    Like

    Sheryl

    May 24, 2012 at 12:46 am

  2. Hi Jane,
    This post reminded me of wild gardens we had when I was a child…and yes, we ate loads of dandelion greens. Congratulations as you begin life as a full time writer. How exciting. I’m anticipating your book with pleasure…can hardly wait. Are you going to WordsSpring? Perhaps we can have a chat there.

    Like

    Carol Steel

    May 3, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    • Hi. Thanks, Carol, for the encouragement. Yes, I’m going to Wordspring, only on Saturday. I’m looking forward to meeting you in person! Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      May 4, 2012 at 7:49 am

  3. This is so lovely!

    I found you via a link Dave Barker shared on fb. I will follow!

    I wrote a poem a few months ago likening my poetry to a dandelion :):)

    Christine

    Like

    journeyintopoetry

    May 3, 2012 at 11:47 am

  4. This is fabulous, I really enjoyed it and what a tender little poem, too! I have yet to use dandelion roots as a coffee substitute though!

    Like

    dfb

    May 3, 2012 at 8:19 am

    • Hi. Glad you liked my poem. I am going to try it… dried, roasted and ground, dandelion roots are supposed to be an excellent hot drink. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      May 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      • Yes, indeed! I may well do the same – there are plenty of them in the garden now! 🙂

        Like

        dfb

        May 3, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      • Hi. If you do try, let me know the process you follow. Jane

        Like

        jane tims

        May 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      • Will do! Thank you Jane.

        Like

        dfb

        May 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      • That’s very good to know. Thanks for the tip. 🙂

        Like

        snowbirdpress

        May 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm

  5. I’ve been adding them to my salads all spring. They are full of all kinds of essential nutrients. But I have to be fast because the rabbits love them the most and I seldom have many plants growing no matter how many seeds I scatter. Also, dandelions bring back fond memories of my Mom’s experiment with dandelion wine. We watched it in wonder one year as it turned into a lovely cordial.

    Like

    snowbirdpress

    May 2, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    • Hi. Your comment about the rabbits makes me think about our (human) place in the food chain. We are always competing for our food. It is more obvious when we gather our food close to home! Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      May 3, 2012 at 7:38 am

      • It was funny to me that the rabbits around here went right past my lettuce beds and skipped all the veggies but absolutely devoured the dandelions. That should tell you, just how good they are for you! Love your posts. Thanks. Merrill

        Like

        snowbirdpress

        May 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm

  6. I absolutely LOVE This! Just simply weederful! Thank you for adding to my day!

    Like

    weedimageoftheday

    May 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    • Hi. Weeds are useful as well as cool. Dandelions are particularly useful, so I voted for them on your poll! Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      May 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm

      • Thank you Jane!

        Like

        weedimageoftheday

        May 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    • Your blog (weedimageoftheday) sounds interesting but WordPress said you’ve deleted it and it is no longer available. Is that true or is it just another one of those ecomputer glitches????

      Like

      snowbirdpress

      May 2, 2012 at 6:27 pm

      • Computer glitch. The blog is certainly still up. Will a link help? http://weedimageoftheday.com/

        Like

        weedimageoftheday

        May 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      • Hi. The link you provided works; the .wordpress.com link does not seem to work. Jane

        Like

        jane tims

        May 3, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      • Thanks for letting me know.

        Like

        weedimageoftheday

        May 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      • So glad you got back to me. Your blog surely is fascinating. So glad Ellen introduced us. Merrill

        Like

        snowbirdpress

        May 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      • Hi. I’m glad you like my posts. I look forward to yours also! Jane

        Like

        jane tims

        May 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm

  7. http://backwoodwanderings.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/rose-hip/
    http://backwoodwanderings.wordpress.com/2011/12/11/after-the-rain/

    Coincidence? I think not …. 😉 If you are having trouble coming up with ideas for a blog post feel free to give me a call ….lol. BTW I am teasing …. BUT . …come on … you have to admit it looks suspicious.

    Like

    JD

    May 2, 2012 at 11:34 am

    • Hi. Well, I liked your posts with the botanical illustrations so much, I just had to swipe your idea! Seriously, these illustrations are so beautiful. Later I will draw a dandelion, but we haven’t one in bloom or seed…yet. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      May 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm

  8. I also love Dandelion greens, some cooked and some raw.
    Will u be a stay at home writer Jane?
    That would be nicer than traveling the highway daily to make a living.

    Like

    Jim

    May 2, 2012 at 10:42 am

    • Hi. Yes, I will be an at-home writer now. I will not miss the daily commute and I hope to get out walking and botanizing a bit more. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      May 2, 2012 at 10:44 am

  9. Mmmmm… The salad looks good and the colorful dish and place-mat add to the appetizing offering! Did you make the place-mat? The picture compliments your poem so nicely…

    Like

    Barbara Rodgers

    May 2, 2012 at 10:13 am

    • Hi. Thanks Barbara. Yes, I made the place mat, just out of odd bits of fabric on my sewing machine, with white thread basting to add a little charm. I love having a pretty place mat for my morning breakfast. I also made a similar set of mats for my dining room table from every ‘berry’ patterned fabric I could find, and quilted them on the sewing machine. You can see one of these in my post on ‘Sweet-fern’ on April 28, 2012 or in the post ‘end of the maple syrup season’ on April 11, 2012. Do you sew? Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      May 2, 2012 at 10:27 am


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