Living Simply,  Recipe Box

You Can Teach An Old Earthmomma New Tricks

See this mess? It’s a pile of dandelion petals, which I carefully pull from dandelion flowers every spring, so as not to include any of the bitter green pieces of the plant. I use the petals to make mead, jelly, tea, or a sweet quick bread. The petals taste like honey! But, today I learned something that will forever change my dandelion petal harvesting method.

Now, look at the picture again. There’s yellow petals, and white fluff. Until today, I thought the white fluff was part of the petal and also added sweetness… but it turns out it DOESN’T! I knew it added buoyancy, since the slightest breeze passing over dry dandelion petals would cause lift-off, and make my kitchen look like the aftermath of a pillow fight.

This revelation came to me while reading a Gastro Obscura (a subsection of Atlas Obscura) article.

Spring’s Sweetest Jelly Calls for Hundreds of Dandelions

Even after I unwrapped them, I still fretted as I snipped away at hundreds of dandelions, separating the yellow blooms from fluff and green stem, that the dried flowers would be less potent than the freshly foraged kind.

Gasp. Separating the yellow blooms from fluff. This coming spring, I will attack the yard armed with my kitchen scissors. Rather than twisting the petals out, which brings the fluff along for the ride, I’ll simply snip the yellow parts off the top and toss the rest of the flower on the mulch pile. Just think! I’ll end the day without cramped, yellow-stained fingertips! And when I measure out one cup of flowers for a recipe, it’s going to pack a LOT more punch than my formerly fluff-filled ingredient.

If you already knew this, please just smile and nod. Sometimes it takes me a while to get where I need to be.

If you aren’t familiar with Gastro Obscura, kick back and explore – there’s (at the time of this post) 1,756 food stories, most of which are guaranteed to blow your mind. If you learn something lifechanging, mention it in the comments here, I’d love to know what you find!

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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