Suppose your doctor tells you, on your next visit, that he has just discovered a miracle drug which, when taken as a beverage, or eaten could prevent or cure liver diseases, such as hepatitis or jaundice; assist in weight reduction, eliminate acne, lower high blood pressure, prevent or cure various forms of cancer and prevent or control diabetes; at the same time, have no negative side effects and selectively act on only what ails you.
Would you take it?
All the above curative functions, and more, have been attributed to one plant we mow over, yank and cuss at for ruining an otherwise perfectly green lawn… the common dandelion.
According to the USDA Bulletin #8, “Composition of Foods” dandelions rank in the top 4 vegetables in overall nutritional value. According to the data, dandelions are nature’s richest vegetable source of beta-carotene, from which Vitamin A is created, and the third richest source of Vitamin A of all foods, after cod-liver oil and beef liver! They also are particularly rich in fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and the B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, and are a good source of protein.
Put the rich green leaves in a salad or sauté them they are fantastic! A fun way to get all of the good stuff from dandelions is to make a lovely dandelion wine.
(Ray Bradbury wrote about it in 1957 as a metaphor for packing all of the joys of summer into a single bottle.)
Gather your dandelions in the sun and you will keep the best flavor. Pick one gallon of perfect, open dandelion blossoms. Remove from the stalks.
1 gallon dandelion blossoms
1 pound of golden raisins
1 inch of ginger chopped in about 5 pieces
1 gallon of water
3 pounds of sugar
Peels and fruit of 2 lemons
Peels and fruit of 2 oranges
1 tablespoon of wine yeast nutrient (homebrew stores or Amazon.com carries it)
Put the flowers in a large bowl. Set aside 1 pint of water and bring the remainder to a boil.
Pour the boiling water over the dandelion flowers and cover tightly with cloth or plastic wrap. Leave for two days, stirring twice daily. (Don’t leave for more than 3 days)
Pour flowers and water in large pot and bring to a low boil. Add the sugar and the peels (peel and slice thinly and avoid any of the white pith) of the lemons and orange.
Boil for one hour, then pour into a crock or plastic pail. Add the juice and pulp of the lemons and orange.
Allow to stand until cool (70-75 degrees F.). Add yeast and yeast nutrient, cover, and put in a warm place for three days.
Strain and pour into a secondary fermentation vessel a large bottle or jug. Add the raisins and fit a fermentation trap to the vessel. Which you can also buy at the homebrew store or seal the cask with a cotton wool bung to allow the gas to escape.
Leave until fermentation ceases completely, and there are no more bubbles.
When the bubbles are gone about 10 to 14 days. Filter the wine with a fine mesh bag and re-bottle. Add the reserved pint of water and close it up in a cool dark spot for about two months.
Bottle using re-purposed bottles and fresh corks you screw in from the homebrew store. This wine must age six months on its side in the bottle before tasting, but will improve remarkably if allowed a year.
Amy Wexler ~