This year was really our dandelion year. We’ve been gearing up for the last few: gathering a small batch here and there in the spring and making little recipes. This year we went big with about three big harvests — one in March, one in April, and one in May. The strange weather of California allowed March blooms at our higher elevations and they continue to bloom. Even in a drought year, the dandelions are going strong.
These are some of the go-to ideas for dandelions with my commentary. Some are quite labor-intensive but you may have to try them once anyway.
Vinegar and Pickled Dandelions
Starting with the easiest and, in my opinion, most satisfying use of dandelions is dandelion vinegar and the resulting pickles you will produce. Carol wrote about dandelion vinegar right here on Fresh Bites Daily back in March and I whipped some up for the photo. Little did I know it would become a staple in my kitchen. I am using the third batch of it since those early spring days.
At the time I was just making it for the vinegar but did not appreciate at all what a great by-product this vinegar creates: dandelions pickled in vinegar. I asked Carol for more ideas and she offered a post on pickled dandelions (here).
I made the recipe pictured in the photo with red onions and various dandelion parts. The combination is exquisite. I use white wine vinegar which gives the mixture a hint of sweet-tanginess. I have been adding the onions and dandelions to various salads, particularly tuna and salmon salad and potato salad. I shudder to think of running out of it. I need to harvest a bit more here on the tail end of our season.
Dandelion Skin Care
We have used dandelions in a salve (here) for extra-dry hands and arms as well as in a lip balm for dry lips (here). The process is very simple and the product satisfying. I am almost as excited about these as I am about the pickles. You may also want to check out the “Whipped dandelion moisturizer” from The Nerdy Farm Wife (here).
Dandelion Jelly and Syrup
These products are the most labor-intensive because they require the dandelion petals only. You actually need to pick the petals off the flower and use those to make the tea that you use for both the jelly and syrup. Read more about it here.
They are good but they very likely fall in the category of “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
Also requiring petals only are many wine recipes. Of course, it is wine and, just maybe, we have a little time for that. Read more from Laurie at Common Sense Homesteading here.
Dandelion Muffins and More
Dandelion muffins: We did it and enjoyed them. (Read about it here.) This recipe also requires petals only and, therefore, is for the most adventuresome or those with access to child-labor. Pay the children in muffins. I can tell you that this is a pretty good strategy. 😉