National Dandelion Day

The Old Farmer’s Almanac claims that April 5th is Dandelion Day. I’m fairly certain this is not a thing, but it should be. Dandelions are pleasurable in so many ways. Just imagine an early summer lawn dotted with bee-covered smiling suns! And when you need calm, there is nothing better than sitting in the dandelions. In my opinion, dandelions are one of only three good reasons to grow grass.

(The other two are clover honey and baseball.)

With their long tap-root, dandelions bring nutrients up from the subsoil. They are feeding all the surrounding plants. Plant them in the greens bed for extra healthy salads. They are magnificent bee plants, absolutely loaded with pollen. Brush them to your face and you’ll be adorned with golden kisses. They are also loaded with nutrients, and all parts of the plant are edible. Steam the roots and eat them with a cheesy sauce. Eat young greens fresh from the garden with a balsamic dressing and maybe a bit of toasted walnut, or boil the older ones and eat them like collard greens. Make tea from the leaves and flowers for a refreshing spring tonic. The flowers can be eaten raw, though they’re bitter; the best way to enjoy these nutrient-dense natural snacks is in beer-batter fritters. (You must guard these from ravaging teenagers if you want to eat them yourself.) The second best way — and one that takes more planning — is to make dandelion wine. Here’s a recipe for you to try if you have flowers already.

Sadly, New England won’t be seeing dandelions for many weeks yet to come. And we could really use a Dandelion Break…

dandelion break

poor maligned dandelion
who dots fields in delight,
such rancor we harbor for him.
deemed weedy and vulgar,
if he but shows his face
we give the whole yard a trim.
his exuberance
eludes all command.
there’s no reining in his joy.
and for purloined freedom
we grant no reprieve.
it’s heads off for this bad boy!

but when you find
that your heart’s in a bind
and your soul is craving renewal,
you can not do better
than head for the meadows
and seek out this fair golden jewel.
plop down in the sun
drop all your cares
stop all your endless mind churning
and if you’ve a wish
then tell it to him
for this dandy will quell all your yearnings.

©Elizabeth Anker 2022