Thursday, May 3, 2012

Things I love Thursday: Dandelions

If you haven't figured it out by now, I love dandelions. I eat them and make them into things on a regular basis. Okay, on a springly basis. They're also very lovely to look at. And when they become little puff balls? ZOMG are they fun. I will spread those seeds like nobody's business.

Make a wish!
One thing we always do when dandelions come out is make wine of the petals. Mmm, by always I mean we have every year since we've lived in New Hampshire. (Dandelions don't really grow as abundantly in the lower parts of Florida).
Wine production of years past
In the four years we've been making it, and in the couple years before John moved to FL that he made it, we haven't yet found a perfect recipe. Mostly because we never remembered what we did the year before. We've tried at least 4 different recipes now. This year we decided to really buckle down and figure this out. Wine takes too long to to be so nonchalant about throwing it together. And while dandelion wine is relatively simple and since the main ingredient free, it's not an expensive wine,  it does take some work. After all, we have to pull all those tiny petals out of the bitter green calyx part. That takes time, baby!

Thems are some hot, manly hands... Oh! I mean, see what hard work that is?

Note the addition of tea cups to the process...
Especially when you consider how much of those petals you need.

This year, we made two separate batches, and I very carefully recorded all that we did for each one. One recipe called for six cups of dandelion petals, and one four cups. I'm pretty excited to taste and compare them.

But wine isn't all we make of dandelions. I've told you about pesto and fritters, which I repeated a few times again this year.

 There's also dandelion petal ice cream. The heavenly, light creamy confection that one friend of mine declared "tastes happy." It's true. This ice cream is happiness infused.

Unfortunately, I can't find where I wrote down the recipe, but I can gather from these two photos that I infused the petals into the milk and then pureed it all together. If you're adventurous, try it out. Make it up as you go or follow a vanilla bean ice cream and adapt.

 I think I may have strained it then, but I don't know. This one I haven't yet made this year because my freezer is currently too full to freeze the icecream maker bowl. If I do get a chance to make it, I'll post the recipe for sure.

You can also make a nice tea loaf out of the petals as I did one year.

I don't have the recipe I used way back then, but this one looks very similar. Try it out and be delighted by making something from your yard!

Dandelion potato soup is also a nice treat. Just follow a recipe for potato spinach soup (or even just potato soup) and put dandelions in instead of spinach. Puree and enjoy.

(If you haven't caught on to this yet, I'm using up as many past photos as I can find in relation to this topic. I meant to post most of these as their own thing, but as as per facts 4 and 5, this never happened.)

Two new things I've tried this year are dandelion tincture (extract) and dandelion vinegar.
Dandelion infused vodka, essentially

 Since I just started them a few weeks ago, and these things take a fair amount of time, I don't know how they turned out yet. But I'm excited. I may be able to add a lovely dandelion flavour to my desserts and dishes any time during the year!

So next time you think of trying to eradicate the dandelions in your yard, why not try eating them instead?

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