Thursday, May 19, 2011

The season of dandelions

Part of living a natural lifestyle is eating seasonally.  Through the winter, everyone on the farm eats lots of stored food.  The vegetarians get hay and grain. We omnivores get fresh milk and eggs, but our produce is all canned, or dried, or root-cellared.  By spring, we're all longing for fresh greens.

The dandelion is a wonderful plant.  It's one of the first things growing, and we all relish it.  The goats (and sheep, and horses) grab great mouthfuls of it whenever they can.  We eat lots of it, too.  When I'm weeding the garden, I pull the plants out whole, carefully laying them to one side.  When I go into the house, I take them with me and wash them.  The young greens are mostly made into salad, though we occasionally steam them.  I dry some, too, for use next winter.

The roots are chopped and lightly roasted in a slow oven until they're dark brown.  They make an excellent hot drink, which I never call "coffee".  It's especially good made with milk and slightly sweetened with brown sugar.

Our favourite dandelion treat is a dish that Charles calls "vegetarian calamari".  To make it, you take young dandelion plants and trim them, cutting back both the leaves and roots to an inch or so.  Then, you dip them first in beaten egg, then in flour or a flour/cornmeal mixture, and fry them in a very hot pan.  They're delicious plain or with a dip.  We can eat dozens at one meal, and everyone we've served them to has enjoyed them.  The reason for their name, by the way, is their appearance, nothing to do with the flavour.

The latest daffodil to bloom - Minnow, the smallest miniature I have

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