Dandelion

Saw some nice ones at the local supermarket @ $3 a one pound bunch. Guess I'll continue to pick the wild ones when available.
Anyone here grow it? Are gardan varieties better than wild? I've had a few grow in my beds that were almost as big as the one in the store.
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Might be interesting to actually cultivate them so they may be more tender, and perhaps less bitter? I've tried eating them once and did not care much for them.
I'm actually seriously considering cultivating milk thistle.
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Peace, Om

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I usually pick dandelions as I make my tour of the garden for salad greens. Adding them to a salad dilutes any disagreeable bitterness they may have.
To reduce bitterness, pick only the small leaves (the size of your thumb, 3" or less). Sensitivity to bitterness varies from person to person. I don't mind large leaves.
See http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Taraxacum+officinale for health profile of dandelions, and domestic cultivars.
My better half sends her recommendation for "Day of the Dandelion" for those who like mystery novels.
Halthy, tastey, and entertaining; what more can a common weed do?
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Cool, thanks! I can pick wild greens from _my_ yard as I so rarely use any pesticides.

And pass on to her "Dandilion Wine". :-)

Indeed...
Do look up Milk Thistle tho' and you will see why I am interested in it as a salad green also. The young flower heads are edible too, as are the seeds.
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Om, you already identified my Border Collie (McNabb) Beau from trampling plants in his trajectory. One of those plants was (is?) a "milk thistle". I'm hoping it will come back in the spring. Anyone who swills as much as I do, should be interested in "milk thistle":-) http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Silybum+marianum
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Billy

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<lol> Only because I HAVE a border collie so I totally understand! :-) Yes, I enjoy imbibing too. Milk thistle extract capsules are part of my daily supplements...
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You should blanch them before eating. Just cover with an upturned plantpot for a couple of days then they are much less bitter. Unblanched, they can be cooked like cabbage, blanched eat raw in salad.
The root can be used in much the same way as carrot and eaten raw or cooked.
They were the staple food in the UK apparently before the introduction of the potato. Ros
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Cool, thanks for the hint. :-)
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In one of the books I've recently accquired called 'Stocking Up' it says that milk thistle is good(not sure what part though) for clabbering cheese when you make it yourself. Will look tomorrow for the specific passages about it.
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Ooh! That would be interesting! :-) I'd rather use that than natural rennit...
Vinegar or lemon works too, but it alters the flavor.
Thanks!
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Peace, Om

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Ok I was slightly wrong, it's the giant purple thistle that is used for clabbering milk for cheese. It usually curdles milk overnight. This is directly from the Stocking Up(which I strongly recommend) book:
The giant purple thistle is a very tall-growing species of thistle, possessing all over very cruel prickles, so that no animals can eat it, and only the bees visit it and the goldfinches carry off the downtopped seeds for their nests and for food. The stems and foliage are grayish, and the flowerheads a rich purple, and of typical thistle shape. The part used are the flowerets when the thistlehead and the flowerets of which it consists have turned brown. When the thistledown begins to appear it is getting too late for the gathering, and the flowerets are less strong and soon will be carried away over the countryside by the wind. The flowerets should be air dried, either in shallow baskets or perforated brown paper bags, and then stored in jars to last until the next summer.
The herb, in carefully controlled quantity, has to be prepared for adding to the milk. It should be pulverized with a mortar and pestle. The herb is well pounded, then a little warm water(or whey), merely enough to cover it, is added, then left to soak for 5 minutes, pounded again for 5 minutes, soaked again, repounded, usually 3 times, at least until dark brown-colored liquid forms. The herb is then strained and then a heaping teaspoon of the herbal liquid is added to every quart of warm milk. If too much herb is used, it tastes strongly in the cheese, and it will cause indigestion, being a very potent herb. Therefore, be careful not to add too much.
(Instead of making a liquid from the herb, you can also dip the whole herb in the milk to make it adhesive, press the flowerets together, and bind them with coarse white cotton thread into a sort of rough plait, leaving the long end of the cotton hanging out of the crock, so you can pull out the herb when the milk curdles, which is approximately overnight. Do not ad the herb loose into the milk, as it is then like having hairs in one's mouth when consuming the delicious soft curds and whey.)
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Very cool. :-)
Thanks for sharing this!
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Peace, Om

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We 'cultivated'some dandelions last year. Grew well but we were trying for the roots to make coffee. result - yuck.
Couldn't tempt my wife and daughter to eat as a salad leaf although I tried and though wonderful. Had better luck getting them to eat nasturtium (spelling?).
Has anybody grow their own dandelion and made a passable coffee? If so, whats the trick? Health benefits are supposed to be good from what I have read.
On Sat, 29 Dec 2007 17:28:05 -0800 (PST), James

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I think it's hilarious that dandelions are sold in the stores. I have to wonder if the dandelion farmers had trouble with grass growing around their crop!
I typically fry the flower heads in a light batter for fritters. --S.
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