Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dandelions: Pest or Asset?

The best way to manage a pest is to think of it as an asset and learn how to use it for profit. Once this strategy is in place the Old Pest/New Asset will start to decline.



Dandelions are a great place to put this principal to work. Think of the origins of Dandelions: Dandelions are native to the Middle East and were carried along the Spice Trails over a thousand years ago as a medicinal plant as well as a garden green. Immigrants carried dandelions from Europe to the United States in the 1790's as a guaranteed nutritional food crop that required little work to produce. It has since then, self seeded all over the western continents and being so common, most of Dandelions' value has been forgotten.

Currently, Dandelions are enjoying a resurgence of popularity as people rediscover the wonders of this plant. Bundles of young leaves share space with spinach at my local farmers market at about the same price. Dried roots are available at most health food stores and on eBay for $5.00 for 2 ounces of dried root. Recipes for Dandelion wine are every where on the internet, carefully reproducing recipes tracing back to our ancestors over 300 years ago. Scientists are experimenting with processes to use the latex in dandelions to produce commercial rubber. Dandelions have a lot to offer to anyone who takes the time to appreciate them.

Dandelions through the year:
Early Spring: Pull off the young leaves(less than 8 inches long) and mix them with salad greens or cooked greens for a super nutritional boost! These youngest leaves are good to eat as long as you keep harvesting them. Once the leaves start to get old, they will be too bitter to enjoy.

Early Summer: Gather every flower you can get your hands on. Remove all the green bits and make a few gallons of Dandelion Wine. This traditional wine is a scarce treat that will delight your family and friends at Christmas time. Serve in small quantities as this wine can develop an alcohol content of up to 14%!

Flowers are also terrific deep fried in batter. Simply dip the whole flower into your favorite tempura style batter and fry until golden brown.

Fall: Gather Dandelion Puffs before they blow away for a natural and Vegan substitute for down filling. It takes a lot of dandelions for a vest but the puffs will not deteriorate for at least 20 years.(And even after 20 years the seeds will still grow if given the chance.) and the insulation qualities are very similar to goose down although not as water repellent.
Late fall: After the first hard frost, dig up the dandelion roots, dry them and use all winter long for a good diuretic tea that still packs a nutritional punch in the form of potassium and other trace minerals. For the whole story on Dandelions for medicine visit Here.

After following this plan for a couple of years you will see the Dandelion supply go down. As is the case every time you change a pest into an asset.

3 comments:

Mary T said...

I like your way of thinking. It could be applied to so many things, elephants for instance. But how 'bout Fire Ants? I'm thinking they have pretty much NO redeeming qualities--I don't think they're even safe to feed your goldfish. :(

VicinSea said...

Dear Mary T,

One old remedy for fire ants to get a long handle shovel and scoop up a big load of ants and carry them to another nest and dump them there. Take a second scoop back to the first nest. The ants from different hills are said to kill each other.

Good luck and thanks for reading!

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