Dandelions!

How they became known as a weed, I’m not sure. ( Well, they are fairly invasive, I guess.) But they’re pretty, and edible, and with all this rain in Western PA, they’re popping up daily in all of the yards in my neighborhood.  You either love ’em or hate ’em.  Dandelions.

Lots of dandelions!

As a child, my Italian relatives tossed tender spring dandelion greens with olive oil and vinegar and savored every bite.  I never ate them, for at the time iceberg lettuce and canned green beans were the only veggies that touched my lips.    Today, I enjoy bitter greens, so when I see dandelion greens on the menu or in the market, rest assured that the’ll be on my dinner plate. But I’d never eaten the flowers, until a few weeks ago. Well,  I didn’t actually eat the flowers, I ate jelly made from the flowers. And it was surprisingly good.

Linda Croskey, of The Purple Spoon

Jam and jelly maker Linda Croskey, owner of The Purple Spoon, kindly allowed me to watch while she made the jelly with dandelion flowers from her own vast backyard of yellow blossoms.  Believe me, it’s a real effort to pick enough dandelion tops to make even a few jars of jelly. I picked just a few while chatting with Linda.  Yikes.  That was enough picking for me.

Getting ready for cooking.

 

(Linda makes a sweet and stunning purple violet jelly, too. Can you only imagine how many violet tops it takes to make a jar of jelly?  This is tedious work here.)  The final product tastes a lot like honey.  It’s great on with peanut butter or dabbed on top of a slice of cheese.

The final product - look at the beautiful label.

Judy Trabbold , owner of  the Mountain Herb Shoppe and  the Historic Log Cabin Inn in Donegal is also into dandelions. (The inn is the oldest log cabin in Westmoreland County.)   On June 12 from 2 to 4 pm, Judy is  having a Dandelion Extravaganza with  lessons on making dandelion jelly, syrup, salad, wine,  and more.  I hear that dried and ground dandelion leaves taste just like coffee whem brewed. Who knew?  Judy will also discuss the medicinal qualities of the dandelion.  Contact her to register.

Sounds like a dandy time!