Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dandelion Days

(Those aren't all dandelions in the background...it's mustard weed in the farmer's field. But it looks beautiful, doesn't it?)

Last week I attended a class as part of my soon-to-be-finished doula certification entitled "Herbs for Pregnancy".  It was interesting to put my toe into the water of the huge realm of homeopathy especially regarding the use of herbs.  Most mothers know that raspberry leaf is praised for its effect of toning the uterus and keeping female functions healthy.  In fact, I have to be careful with it because even a small cup of tea sends me strong contractions.  I'm, um, blessed (?) with a very responsive uterus.  But the other weeds, ahem, HERBS, that the teacher was strongly praising were dandelion and stinging nettle.  Well, we happen to have an abundance of both here in this land of ours!  Now, the amounts she suggested drinking each day were a bit overwhelming, however, I decided to take some baby steps into homemade herbalism and thankfully I remembered that Elizabeth Foss had once posted about their making of 'dandelion syrup' and I was more than happy to follow her lead!

So, a few days ago, the boys and I went dandelion picking in our backyard and picked exactly 250 dandelion heads for our syrup.
  Taken from Elizabeth's Recipe: Dandelion Syrup

250 dandelion heads (non-treated, obviously, and apparently you must count, so we did!)
The juice of one lemon (I used a tbsp. of organic lemon juice)
4 c. water
2 c. sugar (her recipe says 2 lbs. but I'm certain she meant cups as it says cups later in the recipe!)
In a large pot on the stove, stir the dandelions with the water.  Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for one hour.  Cool and allow to steep overnight in the refrigerator overnight.

Next day, strain out all the dandelions and be sure to squeeze out all the tea!  Mix with the 2 c. sugar and the lemon juice and simmer on the stove until the mixture begins to thicken.  Turn off the heat and allow to cool.  The syrup will thicken more as it cools.  Pour into a jar...we got about 1 pint of syrup and it is delicious stirred into tea, as she says.

Now I'm fairly certain that sugar-laden syrup is not the most efficacious way of benefiting from the nutrient goodness of dandelions but hey, like I said, baby steps.  I HAVE also been trying to sneak a few dandelion greens into the diet this week as they are chock full of great nutrients.  I'm thinking that will go a little better once this first trimester gag reflex wears off a bit.


I also spent some time harvesting the stinging nettle that plagues our backyard and it is now dried in the mudroom.  I'll be using that to make a tea infusion that I am supposed to drink.  We'll see how that goes...






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1 comment:

  1. What? There's a use for dandelions besides wine (which I don't drink) and greens (which are always too bitter, IMO)? I'm bookmarking this! Thanks so much!

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