Lawns are greening and yellowing up. The hated dandelion has arrived. Today, I watched bumblebees hum over the lawn seeking the needed pollen.
In his book, Stalking the Wild Asparagus, Euell Gibbons discusses the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) at length. He speaks of its ability to give the body much needed iron in the spring months. Dandelions—the entire plant: buds, leaves, roots—can be used. One can roast the roots for a coffee-type beverage; sauté the early spring leaves; and make wine from the yellow flowers.
When I was a teenager we moved from the suburbs of Washington, DC, to a very small town with a tractor repair shop, post office and general store, and a population of 100 people. Our home was at the end of two-mile dirt road. Our next- door neighbor–if there is such a thing on a rural route–Mrs. Williams, gave us divine fudge and dandelion wine bottled in re-used ‘White House’ vinegar 8 0z. bottles at every Christmas. I recall tasting the dandelion wine and found it sweet and fragrant, reminiscent of the beloved flowers and of spring.
This year marks our fifth year here and the soil is finally free of the chemicals that made the lawn ultra green, sans the worms and microbes so important to the chain of life. It is time to make the wine, to remember Mrs. Williams, and we’re using Euell’s recipe.