Thursday, April 26, 2012

Eating Dandelions

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What?  Eating Dandelions?  Yes, Ma’am, that’s exactly what this post I’m sharing for Frugal Fridays is all about.  Eating those free greens nature provides for you right in your own neighbourhood is being frugal indeed!

 Last spring I became very interested in trying to eat more locally.  There are many reasons to support local food growers (economical, environmental, humanitarian and social just issues, health and nutrition, the list goes on), and I found that in our area, with an abundance of farmer’s markets, produce stands, and even small grocers who carry local produce and animal products, it wasnt that hard to do.
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In the fall of last year I read a book from the library about wild food sources in Ontario.  You cant get much more local that something that grows in your area that you can pick, and you certainly dont get more inexpensive than free!  When I read that one of the most abundant sources of free, wild foods in Ontario were dandelion leaves, I kicked myself.  In the spring of that year I had noticed the huge field adjacent to or condo complex was filled to the brim with dandelions (Ontario no longer sprays weed killer in public green spaces) and it never occurred to me to “harvest” them.  I promised not to make the same mistake in 2012!
I was reading this great, informative article on collecting dandelion greens, including recipes, from Sarah over at Nature’s Nurture (great blog, check it out!), and realized now was the time.  My little girl and I headed over the big field yesterday morning for some sunshine, some playtime, and mom’s first crack at foraging for free salad greens in her own “backyard”.
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This park is great because its not sprayed with weed killer, its not right by the road, and it has very low traffic.  It always amazed me how few people use this green space or the park adjacent; I am assuming its because there is a bigger, more posh park just a block away.  Because there is so little traffic the dandelions grow pretty uninterrupted and that’s the way you want them!
nothing better than going to the park AND getting free food at the same time!
Within about 40 minutes I had collected enough for a large ziplock full, and I figured that was plenty.. I didnt want to pick more than I could use in salad for the next few days.
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One our way home, basket of collected greens in hand, I spotted this sweet mamma bird with a mouthful of grass, presumably on her way to build up her nest.  I felt a kinship with her. :)
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We went home, soaked and rinsed them well, and I added them to my lunchtime salad.
Yumm-O!  Delicious, nutritious, and just the right price!  Why pay 5.99 for a tiny tub of spring mix salad greens when you can get them for free??! 
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Do any of you pick dandelions or other wild foods?  Do tell!!
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Anonymous said...

Your pic of the salad looks so refreshing. I personally have not eaten Dandelions BUT, our chickens do. The leaves have a lot of protien for them, they don't eat the flowers. I would love to make jelly with the flowers, the finish product always looks so pretty and I hear it's quite good.

I'll have to try the Dandelion sometime soon, we have plenty around the yard ;)

Sarah @ Nature's Nurture said...

Hey Nicole, I'm presenting you with a blog award today! Come check it out :)