Kids also love the seed heads that follow flowers. Who can't remember blowing dandelions and watching them float on the breeze?
Dandelions actually have several uses, including culinary, medicinal, cosmetic, and commercial. For at least 1,000 years, the dandelion has been in constant use as both a food and a medicine. Like so many plants, its origins were in the Mediterranean regions of Europe and Asia Minor.
History shows that the dandelion was brought to this country for its culinary uses. There are even books that detail how to grow this "new" crop.
About four pounds of seed to the acre should be allowed, sown in drills, one foot apart. The yield should be four or five tons of fresh roots to the acre in the second year.
Can you picture an entire field of dandelions?
Today dandelions are used commercially in the United States. Large quantities of the plant's leaves are used as fresh spring greens in many ethnic grocery stores and supermarkets.
Dandelion roots are domestically grown for use in patent medicines, and more than 100,000 pounds are imported annually to fulfill the pharmaceutical needs.
In addition to the leaves, dandelions are cooked as a potherb or infused as a tea. One source said that it's the dandelion flowers that pack a wallop. Yes, the flowers are also edible.
My grandma used to fry them like mushrooms in the early spring, and I enjoyed eating them.
Pamela Jones, the author of Just Weeds, said, "If you have never tasted dandelion herbal wine, it is one of the most elusive, delicately fragrant flavors imaginable, the color pure liquid gold."
So look at the dandelion differently on Earth Day. You might even celebrate the day with a salad of dandelion greens followed by fried flower heads and a glass of dandelion wine.
Supposedly the best dandelions are found where no lawn mower has touched them. But it is of utmost importance to look for a lawn that has not been sprayed if you plan to eat from it.