Tuesday, April 19, 2011
IN PRAISE OF DANDELIONS
One of my Facebook friends posted the following:
People work so hard to get rid of dandelions, but personally, they bring me nothing but warm feelings of happiness. Great memories of my Mom and the beautiful yellow bouquets we picked for her which she placed in in empty jelly jars full of water in the kitchen window so she "could look at them while she washed dishes".
Those are heartfelt and touching words. My mother once said that if dandelions weren't weeds, they would be prized for their beauty. My mother would also put our bouquets of dandelions in water and she would also wear the "dandelion bracelets" we would make. [See instructions] I called the bracelets her "Van Cleef and Arpels" because that was a popular giveaway item name on television shows when I was a kid. Mother would hold the dandelion under our chins to see the reflection.
In my family, we love dandelions. Every part of the dandelion is useful--the root, the leaf and the blossom--as well as the seeds! On Friday, I'm going to pick the largest blossoms that I can find and deep fry them! This is a yearly ritual. It will be a surprise to our dinner guests, but I know my brother and I will eat them, just in memory. My mother always picked a "mess" of greens, but being a non-drinker, there was no dandelion wine, but she used the root for tea and "potions". The sap from the stems was also good to use on bee stings or other insect bites.
HOW TO MAKE DANDELION CHAINS
Is there anything more evocative of summer than a dandelion chain? Dandelion chains, like summer itself, are beautiful, quick to wilt and childlike. Make a few for yourself or teach a child.
1 Pick dandelions with long, thick stems, one at a time.
2 Attach the dandelions to one another by tying the stem in a knot around the previous dandelion stem close to the flower. Double knots work best.
3 Tie the two ends of the chain together when you have reached the desired length.
4 Or make a short slit halfway down the stem of one dandelion.
5 Insert the stem end of a second dandelion into the slit and push it down through the first dandelion as far as it will go.
6 Make a slit halfway down the second dandelion and insert a third dandelion.
7 Continue until your chain is a little longer than you want it to be. Tie the last stem to the first dandelion near the flower.
8 Make necklaces, crowns and bracelets.
9 Expect the flowers to wilt quickly.