Monday, April 28, 2014

A Weed by Any Other Name is Food

  Spring! Spring! Spring! Don't you know how much I love it??? Of course you do because I mention it in every post. We have had some super warm days and some chilly days. The hubby and I get outside as much as we can and work on our little "farm." On Saturdays, we like to pretend that it is a real farm but I am not sure that a pet pig and eight chickens qualifies as a farm. It is just our little dream and it is good to share dreams with your spouse. It builds unity and bonds you together. Don't you think Adam and Eve had all kinds of dreams and secrets between them?  But I digress...

  So, on the farm this past Saturday the man announced that he would get out the tractor and cut the yard but I had just read my herb magazine about dandelions and pleaded with him to wait a bit so I could harvest some dandelion flowers. It was slightly chilly and no bugs were flying around so it was perfect for gathering flowers. I picked and picked and picked then I took my kitchen scissors and cut and cut and cut to remove the green bracts underneath the flowers (they are very bitter supposedly). As I prepped my flowers, I started to second guess the idea of eating them. They are wild plants, weeds for goodness sake. Would I really eat them? I reminded myself that I had eaten sushi, calamari, chicken livers, and various other things that seemed far more precarious than this yellow flower so I pressed on.

 The first thing I decided to do with them is make fritters. It is just the southern girl in me that led to this idea. Dipping edibles in batter and cooking them in hot grease is irresistible to us. I served them for lunch because the man works up a fierce manly appetite on Saturdays and he does not question much. About halfway through, he said, "What's in the hushpuppy things? Is this some new experiment?" Why yes it is! Okay, I did not answer that enthusiastically. It was more a whispered answer, "dandelion fritters." He thought I was joking but then he realized I was not kidding. "Hm, well, they taste pretty good for weeds," he replied and kept eating. Yea! Score one for dandelions. Here is how I made them:

Dandelion Fritters 
- 1-1/2 to 2 c. dandelion flowers, green bracts & stems removed (gather them from un-sprayed, untreated areas, 10 feet from road, not in pet areas)
- 1/3 c. gluten-free flour mix (mine is almond flour, millet flour, potato starch)
-1/3 c. corn meal
- 1/3 c. onion, chopped (I used red onion)
- 1/3 c. milk
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp. turmeric
- optional: 1 Tbsp. chia seed or hemp seed to sneak in some nutrients

 Mix dry ingredients and seasonings. Stir in egg and milk and chia seed if you want to use it. Add in dandelions and stir well. Heat a pan of oil and drop spoonfuls of batter into pan. If it is not a deep pan, turn them while cooking. These cook very quickly so keep your eye on them.

 Next on the list for my dandelion haul was jelly. Maybe that is a southern thing, too, because down here the other option of eating food is putting it on a biscuit. What's a better fit in the cupboard next to my apple butter, peach preserves, and concord jam?

 Dandelion jelly looks so pretty, too. It is like sunshine in a Mason jar. I used the recipe from here: Simply Canning

  It does taste a little like honey. I like it and those little yellow sunny tops peeking out of the lawn are in danger, not because we want a pristine weed-free yard but because we are hungry! Thank you God for dandelions!

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