Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Putting Up

My friend Dan grows raspberries and blueberries in raised beds. Dandelions have found their way in and now, crowd the berries. Knowing my fondness for dandelions, Dan told me to come over any time and take all I wanted.

The loose soil made popping the dandelions out with a dandelion digger easy. Soon, I had filled a large, canvas tote and also, a brown ash basket. My plan was to gather enough dandelions for home canning.

Back home, I spread my bounty on the grass and with a garden hose, gave them a thorough rinsing. Then, turning them over, rinsed them again. After that, while sitting on an upturned, five-gallon pail, I checked each dandelion plant individually, removing any clinging debris or grit and giving one, final rinse.

Then it was on to canning. This involved setting out all, needed equipment, including clean jars, lids, screw tops and jar lifter. Then I cut the dandelions into manageable-sized portions and dropped them into a large pot of boiling water, leaving them there only until they wilted and assumed a darker shade of green.

Then, it was into individual, canning jars and on with the process, which took 70 minutes per run. As the pressure weight hissed and jiggled, the house filled with a delicious aroma, soothing and alluring. I made two batches, a total of 25 jars of home-canned dandelions.

Something about putting up my own, wild food not only thrills me but also, provides a great sense of satisfaction and security.

My goal this year is to home-can as many, different wild foods as possible. Even if cultivated crops fail, as they did last year, wild plants always produce. So from now until frost puts an end to the growing season, I plan on prowling about woods, fields, wetlands and streamsides, in search of healthful, vitamin-filled, tax-free, wild edibles.

1 comment:

  1. Tom -
    Every year, when the dandelions reach their fairy fluff stage, I whirl them around my yard to spread the seed, singing "grow - grow."
    And they do. But after I manage to get one good 'mess', my kind neighbors or grandkids come and mow my lawn. ;o)
    And all "my" dandlion fields where I used to dig have, one by one, become off limits.
    I have often thought to start an actual dandlion beds - and wondered why people don't. Indeed, why doesn't some enterprising person SELL dandelion seed?
    The so wrongly maligned dandelion is one of, it not THE one, most valuable plants God gave us...and it's reviled more than any other. Stange, humans.
    Your story here has strenghtened my resolve to start a dandlion garden.
    (Your dew drop photo is fantastic.)
    P.S. I notice this site put in my GOOGLE mail box - I gnore it. I hardly EVER look at it. ;o) (I really DO NOT LIKE GOOGLE)