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Archive for the ‘Dandelions’ Category

Albert Chevallier Tayler - Girl Shelling Peas 1886

I’ve already hinted at my strange fixation over dandelion wine, and talked about planting dandelions (HA!  PLANTING DANDELIONS!  LIKE, ON PURPOSE!), but really, the boozing doesn’t stop there.

No, sir.

I recently came across a recipe for peapod wine that I’ve been jonesing to try.  Apparently the result is along the lines of a Riesling.  Of course, peapods aren’t the only food you can turn into wine (beets are supposed to make fab red wine), but I love the idea of using the leftover veggie parts you’d ordinarily toss or compost to make something of value.

And wine has some serious value around here.

There are three kinds of peas coming up in the garden right now, and two kinds of shelling peas.  Plus, the CSA has already delighted me once this Spring with a big ol’ bag of English peas.  It was fun to leave the tv off, cuddle up next to The Boy, and shell some peas while he tapped away on his laptop.  Every now and then I’d smack him in the mouth with a handful of peas and he’d mumble something that I’m going to assume was grateful in tone.

Ah, love.

I’m thinking that by the time summer’s heat kicks in, I should have the requisite four pounds of shells, maybe more, to do some tinkering in our fermentation room.

What are you folks brewing these days?  Home distilling is still illegal ’round these parts, but most states have permitted home brewing for some time (you can thank Jimmy Carter for that).

Also, why was Jimmy Carter so unappreciated in his time?  Poor Jimmy Carter.  You know I’ve got your back, right, Jimmy?

Right.

I’d love to hear about any family moonshine recipes you’ve picked up from relatives or an old homesteading book or two.  Bonus points if they use foraged or “leftover” ingredients!  Extra special super-duper bonus points if you’re actually Jimmy Carter.

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Photo by Paul Davidson

This spring, I’ll be embarking on a seemingly ridonkulous adventure, probably surprising no one.

I’m going to plant dandelions.

Yeah, I said it.  I’m going to TRY to get dandelions to come up.  I’m not gonna overthink and micro-engineer this project like I do every other garden/homestead undertaking, though.  I really feel like if any plant has earned a reputation for taking care of itself and not needing anybody’s help whatsoever and also, you know, surviving attacks from chemical showers AND FUCKING FIREBOMBS, well, it’s the dandelion.

Extremely sophisticated planting ideas from the think tank currently include:
1. Roping off some grass and sprinkling the seeds right on top of the sod, and
2. Getting a big ol’ Rubbermaid, filling it with cheap soil, and…unceremoniously tossing the seeds on top.

Sophisticated, right?  I think I hear NASA calling me already.

So onto the part that may be puzzling some of you–the whole WHY thing.  Well, by now you’ve probably heard about how nutritious dandelions are, so I’ll spare you that conversation (click here if you’d rather not be spared).

But it’s also a principle thing.

I mean, you know me (Sort of.  You know me in the strange and obliquely creepy way that strangers know other strangers who post too much information about their lives in a very public arena.)  Misfits, your Bad Mama Genny is not a perfectly-manicured lawn sort of girl.  I gasp at the thought of dousing the land in pesticides.  I feel that some ::cough cough:: MOST of that space could be put to better use.

And, uh, engage in a fierce war against a plant that clearly has an even stronger drive to survive than I do?  I don’t think so.

At some point, when you’ve spent hundreds of dollars on fighting the dandelions, and tens of man hours mowing the dandelions, and the last inch of your patience stooping to pull up the dandelions only to see them pop back up a few days later, twice as strong and now heartily laughing at you…

…well, don’t you sorta wonder if maybe you’re fighting for the wrong side?

Listen, anything that has strength and determination to rival Robocop has got to be either ungodly poisonous or really good for you.  Thankfully, dandelions fall into the second camp.

Now, what to do with the harvest?  Well, I’m ’bout to show you.  Most of these here ideas come from one guy who is seriously on a fucking mission to consume dandelions in as many ways possible.  Or at least, that is the only way to explain his behavior.  Way to go, dude man.

Dandelion cookies

Dandelion jelly

Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Muffins and Bread

Dandelion Burgers

Wilted Dandelion Salad

Dandelion Tempura

Halibut With Braised Dandy Greens and Cannellini

What’s that you say?  You’d like my dandelion priorities mapped out for you in order of importance?  SURE!

1.  Dandelion Wine
2.  Dandelion Jelly
3.  Using leaves left from said wine and jelly in any freaking way possible.  Salads, soups, sautés.
4.  Another batch of dandelion wine.  (What?)
5.  Mixing dandelion petals into my homemade sourdoughs.
6.  Experimenting with The Boy’s tolerance for my antics and making them tempura dandelions and tempura burgers (I’m thinking calling a dandelion patty a burger might break something in his brain, so I’m still on the fence about this one)
7.  BEST IDEA EVER EVERYBODY OH LOOK IT’S a third carboy of dandelion wine (Don’t tell me you didn’t see that one coming.)

Only one problem.  There is the chance that dandelions thrive on hatred.  In case this is true, I will, by planting them willfully, effectively remove their motivation to smother the earth, and they will decide that world domination just isn’t as fun without spirits to crush and villagers to enrage, and then there will be no dandelion wine.  Damn.  Really hope that doesn’t happen.  We’ll just have to see.

Anybody with me?

What’s that?  You’d like me to be the guinea pig first and report back on my success?  Well, okay.  I can do that.  But you know as well as I do that after the zombie apocalypse, all that will be left for the survivors is dandelions.

Life after the zombie apocalypse will be easier if we do this now.  Which is pretty much my reason for doing most of the things I do.

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