By Weed Warrior Frank
It is mid-May, 2021. A week ago, I pulled the last bag of dandelion flowers from May 2020, out of the freezer and stirred them into a cup of all-purpose flour with two eggs and some milk. The pancakes were just as tasty as the ones made from fresh dandelion flowers a year ago. My wife, Linda, actually ate two pancakes this time.
So today, I started picking some more dandelion flowers for next winter’s breakfasts.
I went outside with a big salad bowl, and half-filled it with the best looking dandelion flowers in the front yard. The reason being, it would be easier to avoid flowers with insects on them if the florets were open wide. Then, I filled the bowl of flowers with water from the tap to wash them and expose any tiny hidden ants or native bees.
After receiving some unappreciation from my wife last year over tiny ants on her kitchen counter, I had a bright idea today. Maybe, she would approve of me doing the washing, cutting and sandwich bagging outside on the deck table, instead of in her kitchen.
Once the flower prep started, I discovered the light was much brighter outside, and releasing the two tiny, pollen-eating ants swimming in the washing bowl into nature was much easier.
After cutting the green knobs off five dozen dandelion flowers and piling them in groups of 12 for easy counting, then using a soup spoon to scrape them off the cutting board into a sandwich bag, it got a little tedious for a geezer’s aging fine motor skills. Do I really have to cut the green knobs off the back of the flowers? Are the knobs really that bitter on the early spring dandelions?
So, I cut the stem off and popped a washed dandelion flower, green knob and all, into my mouth and started chewing. It tasted kind of like a lettuce leaf or a celery stalk.
The rest of the dandelions were washed and bagged much faster and safer. All I had to do was pull the stem off instead of wielding a sharp knife close to my fingers, while cutting the green knob off.
The next test would be to see how well the knobby flowers stir into the pancake mix. The next morning, I stirred five dozen dandelion flowers with the green knobs still attached into a cup of all-purpose flour along with two eggs. Milk was gradually stirred into the mix until the right consistency was reached. The batter produced two-and-a-half pan-sized tasty, chewy pancakes. Perhaps two or three dozen dandelions would produce a less chewy batter.
Regardless, the maple syrup turned it all into a delightful, filling breakfast.
If you want to try this yourself, but have never eaten dandelions before, the wisdom that the tribal elders learned over many generations tells us to try a couple of flowers, then wait a week to see if they cause an allergic reaction. Repeat that for three weeks to check for a delayed reaction, then eat the new food cautiously for the first year.
Foraging can be fun, tasty and economical.
Weed Warrior Frank lives and forages in the East Kootenay.