Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Spirited Defense of Dandelions

When you look at this abundance of dandelions, you might see weeds to be pulled or sprayed (shame on you!), an invasive species, or perhaps just common wildflowers.

I look, and I see a bumper crop in my garden.

Yes, it's time for the annual dandelion harvest and the making of this year's dandelion wine.

Working on my own this year a few days after their peak, I didn't harvest nearly as many blossoms as I might have liked, making only about a pint of brew. Still, it's well on its way, fermenting happily:

I told an older colleague earlier in the week about my plans, and she commented that she had never liked dandelion wine because it tasted too much like dandelions (in particular, like their glue-like sap). Although one year my wine turned out like that, I've found that removing the green base of the blooms and adding generous amounts of orange and lemon juice to the mix result in a light, fruity liquid that is perfect for raising a toast with friends.

You go ahead and weed your dandelions or mow over them. I prefer to make room for them in my garden and my kitchen.

And I'll lift my spirits with their sunny bloom!


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