Wild Things in April Round Up - Dandelions


Isn't it lovely how dandelions, the featured herb for April, announce the arrival of spring with their cheery blossoms?  This month, we've got all sorts of delightful entries in the Wild Things Round Up - recipes using all parts of the plants, from the roots, to the greens, to the flowers.  Enjoy!
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My foraging bestie, Wild Food Girl publishes a fantastic wild food primer called the Wild Edibles Notebook. It just so happens that she also featured dandelions for the month of April in her WEN. If you haven't yet signed up for it, I highly recommend it.


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If you are like me, and tire of foraging and wild foods cookery always being painted like some sort of Summer's Eve commercial, let me introduce you to Green Gabro.  You can count on her to tell it like it is.  For dandy month, she's shared her account of making Dandelion mead, as well as a list with her experience in cooking and tasting all of the parts of dandelion in a post called How I Don't Eat Dandelions.


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Like any good nerd group in the age of the internet, the wild foods community is fairly well connected, and communicate their finds and creations on a daily basis.  In a way this is a curse, because I constantly find myself jealous of what others are harvesting.  But the blessing comes in constantly being excited by wild food and having my boundaries pushed. One of the people I find most inspiring when it comes to cooking with foraged foods is Heather.  Remember the pine cambium donuts?  Yeah, that was her!  She's shared her recipe for Dandelion (Flower) Cheese Muffins this month.

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Herbalist Rosalee de la Foret of Methow Valley Herbs has all kinds of fantastic dandelion recipes to share.  I'm most excited about her recipe for Marinated Dandelion Flower Buds, which is included here, along with recipes for dandelion pesto, and dandelion coffee.  She has also shared her video about how to make dandelion wine!


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I always think that dandelion jelly looks like sunshine in a jar.  The Independent Herbalist has shared her recipe for Dandelion Jelly using homemade green apple pectin.


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My friend Tim Furst made Dandelion Root Kimchi.


My friends are artists, but they aren't starving - their garden is too nice
for that.  Unfortunately they have a car that starts even less often than
my cantankerous chainsaw so I frequently have a rider when I travel into
town.  A few days ago when I brought Chris back home, Deb walked from the
garden & presented me with a big bag of turnip greens.

The next morning, already wet from cleaning greens, I sat in the confusion
that constitutes my garden and dug a bucket full of dandelions.  I broke a
trowel trying to get the long roots, but since the trowel was purchased as
camping equipment in 1977 it doesn't owe me anything. The dandelion greens
were due to be braised with garlic and added to white beans &; lots of good
olive oil - Italian beans & greens.  But, like Marco Polo, I went to a
different continent with the dandelion roots & turnip greens.

While I dug the dandelions, I filled a big stock pot with water & threw in
the turnip greens along with a big handful of salt.  I had saved some juice
from a previous batch of home fermented kimchi.  A rough chop of garlic (a
whole head), about a tablespoon of ground chipotle (for heat) and a couple
of tablespoons of half-sharp paprika (for flavor & color) went into a bowl
with a good dash of Thai fish sauce and the leftover kimchi juice.  I used
my immersion blender to make a wet paste of the garlic & peppers. Korean
red pepper powder would have been traditional - I wasn't being an
iconoclast, I just didn't have any Korean pepper.

 I scrubbed the dandelion roots, peeled the bigger pieces & sliced it all
very thinly.  I also added about 3" of peeled ginger sliced like the
dandelion.  I would have added daikon or another crunchy root, but I didn't
have any.  Next, I drained the turnip greens & put them in my biggest bowl
with the sliced roots and tossed them together.  I poured a good handful of
kosher salt into a small bowl knowing that my hands were about to become
too messy to handle the box.  I kneaded salt & the garlic chili paste into
the vegetables & forced them tightly but carefully into quart canning jars
- this batch made almost 2 quarts. Pressing down with a wooden spoon will
forces juices to start to fill the jar but I never seem to get enough juice
so I add some brine to cover.  Then, I filled a couple small bottles with
water & put them in the quarts to keep the neo-kimchi submerged.  My
kitchen is still chilly & the kimchi is still sitting on my counter, slowly
fermenting - it has been 3 days, I'll probably taste it tomorrow.

I learned to make kimchi with an beautiful group of friends - we call
ourselves the kitchen witches - who are amazing with plants, potions, pots,
& pans.  Unfortunately we are not so tremendous with documenting our
efforts and writing good recipes - this is mostly my fault because I have
worked on cookbooks before & I know how to test & write recipes.  If you
are reticent about fermenting your own kimchi I recommend looking at the
books of someone like Sandor Katz as a guide.  Then, using your own
intuition, add the flavors & ingredients that you have & that you like.  I
have tasted dandelion greens in kimchi before (delicious!) but this is the
first time I have tried the roots.  I'm pretty confident I'm going to like
it.

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I thought I had eaten sauteed dandy greens every which way, but Today's Modern Homemaker has introduced me to a new way to serve them - atop a bagel and cream cheese.  I love the idea of those bitter greens mingling with sweet cream cheese.  How good does this look?


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Lately, I've really been enjoying Wildcraft Vita, because I get to compare the wild foods that grow in my region with those in Italy.  It makes for some interesting contrasts.  The Diva has shared her recipe for Dandelion Mimosa Salad.  Also, don't miss her list of 40+ Things to Do with Dandelions.


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I'm certain many of you are already familiar with Rebecca Lerner, the urban forager behind the blog First Ways.  Did you know that she also has a brand new book just out entitled, Dandelion Hunter?  It's a narrative account of her journey to becoming a forager.  It's full of interesting plant tidbits, and I'm pretty sure her stories will inspire you to hit the streets and see what edible treats hang out in your neighborhood.  You can get an autographed copy of the book here.  Also, don't miss what she has written about dandelions on her blog.


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Here's my new favorite recipe of the spring, Dandelion Pizza.  Lightly bitter sauteed dandelion greens mingle with a white garlic sauce, smoky bacon, and spicy pickled peppers to create a pizza you won't forget.


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You didn't think I'd show up to this dandelion party without a drink, did you? What kind of host would I be if I didn't offer you a Dandelion Bloody Mary?


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Marcy of the Backyard Patch Herbal Blog, who lives in Illinois is well acquainted with power of the dandelion.  She made Sauteed Spicy Dandelion Greens . Also check out this page, where she has a few more recipes (including Dandelion Salad with Fresh Goat Cheese, yum!) and a few of her medicinal dandelion formulations.

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The Sneaky Magpie, who lives in England made a charming Dandelion Jam, which was inspired by the River Cottage Crew (one of my favorite sources of inspiration as well).  This recipe includes directions for making a homemade fruit-based pectin to set the jam.  I very badly want a jar of this in my pantry.


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Robin, who has a fantastic foraging blog called Eat Weeds, and also lives in Britain, contributed a recipe for  Dandelion Vinegar which is made from both the leaves and roots.  He says that dandelion vinegar is a zesty addition to salad dressings. I think I'd like to try dandelion vinegar as part of a marinade.


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AnkeB, of the blog Herbology, who lives in Australia came up with a really unique tribute to dandelion greens with her Chicken and Dandelion Soup.  It's hearty and rustic, with both meatballs and slices of chicken.  This is the kind of dish that would be equally at home served in a fancy restaurant or in a cozy kitchen.


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The Dyhanaverse is a creative soul after my own heart.  She utilized roasted dandelion roots to make this Spring Cake.  If your family is gluten-intolerant, you're in luck, as this recipe is gluten-free.  For a bit fancier dish, try her Dandy Veloute atop Carrot Cloud and Polenta.


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Katie had a wild adventure this month.  Not only was she lucky enough to harvest dandelions, but she also found morels (who me?  jealous?  why yes, very much so).  She used these choice forages to make a stunning quiche.  For those who are still uneasy about eating dandelion greens, I think using them in a quiche is the perfect introduction to their taste.

Morel and Dandelion Quiche

Ingredients:

16 dandelion blossoms, sans stem
16 small morel mushrooms, halved
1 roma tomato, hollowed and diced
1/4 cup of milk
8 oz. shredded cheese
4 eggs
1 tablespoon Bragg's liquid aminos (optional)

Soak dandelion blossoms and halved morels in saltwater for at least 30 minutes, dandelions no longer than 1 hour. Rinse well, and let dry as much as possible before continuing. Mix eggs, milk, cheese and liquid aminos in a bowl. Pour half of mixture into pie crust (you can make your own or buy one in the frozen foods section). Place tomatoes and morels on top of the mixture, and then lay dandelion blossoms, facing up, on top of the tomatoes and morels. Pour remaining egg mixture over the blossoms. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes @350, or until the top is a nice golden brown. Let cool before cutting.


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Brooke has a little foraging helper in her family.  From their harvest came Dandelion Flower Vinegar, which is both delicious and medicinal. 

"My daughter loves picking dandelion heads and wants to pick some for pancakes. I'll get back to you about that. Anyways, the dandelions all popped today and she couldn't resist picking. So I had a quart of Apple cider vinegar with the mother and lots of dandy flowers."

1 Quart Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother
20 Dandelion flower heads freshly picked

You might have to store a 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar in another container due to the space that the flowers will take up. Place a dandelion head at the top of the bottle and use a chopstick to push the flower heads into the apple cider vinegar. Let it steep for a couple weeks and use in regular recipes. Its a good way to get some of the benefits of dandelion.

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Alex, who lives with her family in New York loves Mark Bittman, and also loves her leafy greens.  So, it's only natural that she chose to make  Dandelion Greens with Double Garlic, one of Bitty's recipes.


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Herbalist Darcy Blue used to live a bit further north than a lot of us, but spring arrived in her neck of the woods just in the nick of time for her to make this fantastic and easy Dandelion Walnut Pesto.


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Rebecca, of King's Road Apothecary and the blog Cauldrons and Crockpots, who operates out of LA is a genius at knowing how to make a recipe sparkle.  In this case, she added a few raisins to lift up the flavor of her dish, Dandelion and Fennel.


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I came up with a recipe to use dandelion buds and a little lacto-fermentation magic to create Dandelion Bud Mock Capers.



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Not one to turn down a traditional recipe, I transformed dandelion flowers into a crispy crunch yummy with my recipe Batter-Fried Dandelion Flowers.


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I took advantage of the coffee-like taste of roasted dandelion roots to create a Roasted Dandelion Root Rub for Meats, which I used on dove breast.  But this versatile rub can be used on any strongly-flavored meat, from beef to game.



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I completed my tour of the dandelion plant by using the leaves to make Dandelion Green Soup with Roasted Garlic and Parmesan.  This is a simple, yet boldly flavored soup.


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Hank Shaw, wild foods enthusiast, and author of the book Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast, makes a mean cup of Dandelion and Chicory Root Coffee.  I've dug a lot of dandelions in the last two weeks, and really enjoy the transformation the root makes when roasted, how it becomes deeper and sweeter, almost chocolate-y.  So just imagine the pleasure of snuggling up to a big mug of dark dandy coffee in the morning! 


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And last, but certainly not least, is a mind-blowing collection of dandelion recipes from Holly of Wild Blessings. Prepare yourself to see the terrific versatility of the dandelion, from root to flower, and everything in between. Apparently, the Cornmeal Fried Dandelion Stems were a huge hit. Sounds good right? Click through and enjoy all of her wild creativity in A Dandelion Celebration.



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Thanks to everyone who was inspired by, and participated in, the Wild Things Round Up.  Can't wait to walk on the wild side with you next month!!!!





I'm sharing this round up with the Hearth and Soul hop, and Fight Back Friday.

Comments

  1. What great, creative ways to use dandelion!

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  2. omg! grow faster, oh dandelions of my yard, I want to try out some of these recipes!

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  3. Oh It's so lovely to see all these recipes and contributers!! Can't WAIT until next month's parteee begins :D :D :D.

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  4. What a GREAT collection of recipes. Can't wait till it's spring here so I can make some of these.

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  5. AnkeB - I always enjoy seeing what my friends in the other hemi are doing because it gives me something to look forward to, and helps me plan for all the recipes I want to make.

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  6. Feeling like a real ninny right now!! I haven't had much time for blogging lately and didn't see the new topic on dandelions so I was excited to get your invite to share my dandelion recipe. Not sure why I thought I had more time but...oh, well. Thanks for thinking of me. I love reading about your foraging recipes. I'm enjoying wild leeks this month!

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  7. I am really enjoying reading your blog the last few months. I'm am truly amazed at how deep your foraging goes and the recipes you come up with. I'm a much more casual forager, and I can really appreciate the work that goes into doing it to the degree that you are. Besides, the photos and presentation are beautiful. I just wrote this week a short note about foraging with kids for garlic mustard and japanese honeysuckle - two of my son's favorites. I'm sure you'd have more ambitious recipes, but we do a simple pesto !

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  8. I love dandelion greens , but I have to buy mine organically in the supermarket. We have tons of dandelions in my neighborhood, but everyone uses toxic chemicals so I am afraid to use them..
    Great recipes!

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  9. I made a dandelion, ginger, juniper berry wine that is WOW! Used to make dandelion wine every spring, but getting too old to travel to beds of them. The roots were roasted and ground into coffee and it still is one of my favorites. The best thing about the dandelion is that however you fix it, it never loses its Vitamin A, which is why dandelion wine was the spring tonic for centuries. Great post. Love all the new recipes!

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  10. Hey butter and beks! What a great roundup! Thanks so much for sharing my greens recipe, but all the other's are so much more creative! I love the capers idea and I am going to have to go out and see if I can find any closed buds and try that! hugs! Alex

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  11. Renee - Honestly, I do a lot of simple recipes at home, too. You should see all of the basic quiches or sauteed w/ butters I make. But for the blog, I like to show the potential of foraged ingredients, how they can really be inspiration for some pretty fancy fare.

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  12. What an interesting post. I never could have imagined all the delicious things you can make with dandelions. There is a very popular drink here in England called Dandelion and Burdock, but that is about the extent of my experience so far. I'm really interested to see all these lovely recipes! Thank you for sharing with the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop.

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  13. Oh dandelion jam might be the next jar around here! Lovely roundup- thank you!

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  14. Oh April! I've always wanted to try that!

    AnanaChernila- i was utterly charmed by the jam as well.

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  15. Fabulous international collection! The last day of the moth is getting to be my favorite day. So many great ideas and lovely blogs. Thanks for including my muffins, and can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve for next month.

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  16. Serve me up a slice of that pizza!

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  17. Dandelion Heaven!!! Thankyou so much for organizing this and including me. I've discovered lots of new blogs to visit and learn from :-) There is so much inspiration out there!!

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  18. Great collection! Thanks for the work.

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  19. Yes this is a great one, so many recipes! Thanks again, B.

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