Dandelions: It’s All About Perspective
Love them or hate them, dandelions may be one of the most popular weeds on the internet aside from one other “weed” I can think of. There are countless songs, recipes, kids’ games, drinks, medicines, careers, and of course, wishes associated with dandelions. I’ll just touch on some from each category.
I don’t know if there has ever been a Grammy associated with the dandelion, but there are plenty of songs written about it or its fruits, specifically wine. I’d like to think I’m sophisticated enough to appreciate the video for “Dandelion Song.” Those of you who know me can stop laughing now, as I’m more of a sucker who appreciates “Dandelion Wine” by Jared Blake. Whoa, whoa, whoa, that stuff will make you tipsy. I’ve seen it!
It appears to me that you can fix dandelions about any way possible. The flowers, leaves, and roots are all edible and apparently chocked full of vitamins and minerals. One can find recipes that suggest boiling, frying, drying, sautéing, baking, jellying, syruping, and even making pizza. I myself am a simple man, so I chose to go the fresh salad route. As I understand it, the younger leaves are supposed to be less bitter, but I found that a nice vinaigrette helped the most. See above for how it looked. Next time I’m going to add some bacon.
Though many a father has tried to convince their children that picking dandelions is a fun game, few have actually succeeded in this method of organic weed control. Yes, most children have provided their mother with a fresh bouquet of dandelions, but it’s the “do you like butter” game that takes me back to childhood. Grab a dandelion bloom and quickly swipe it under someone’s chin. If it leaves a yellow streak, then it’s a proven fact that they do like butter! Who really doesn’t like butter though? Certainly not the French.
Wine, tea, and a root coffee variant are all possible ways to imbibe this worldly plant. Because I didn’t have time to make any wine, I had to settle for brewing up some tea. The can suggests it has cleansing properties and is a natural aid for digestion. I am not sure about the required dosage, but after my first cup of hot tea, I don’t feel any cleaner. It has a mild flavor that I suspect would be even better with something from the cabinet that my kids can’t reach.
Though I’m sure there’s an herbalist that may take offense to me saying dandelions are used as a medicine, it sure looks that way. A quick Google search suggests they are a great source of vitamins: A, B, C, and E. Dandelions can also provide minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium & potassium while supplying carbs and fiber. The USDA provides a complete breakdown for many dandelion products here. The health benefits are similar to what your grandma always said, “eat your vegetables.”
This may be a stretch, but I credit the dandelion as a major inspiration for the lawn care industry and why I have the job I do. Though I won’t claim to be one of them, some individuals prefer things neat and tidy, including their lawns. Seeing yellow flowers is downright irritating to some, and thus, they want them gone! Fortunately, our society has provided us with manufacturers, vendors, sales representatives, business owners, lawn technicians, and many more people who are paid in some way to manage a litany of weeds including the dandelion. If you like to call dandelions “damndelions,” then please refer to our 2019 Herbicide Guide as a great resource to help with controlling dandelions plus other weeds. If you enjoy dandelions, do not refer to the guide and in fact please pick your herbs from a wild meadow or at least an untreated lawn.
Maybe this topic should have been listed under “kids’ games.” Whether you want to call these weeds dandelions or “damndelions,” when I blow off this puffball, I’ll be wishing you success in however you desire to deal with the common dandelion.