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WEEDS FOR WELLNESS – A GUIDE TO YOUR BACKYARD PHARMACY

In the following weeks I will share information about some of the so-called weeds and how you can add them to your food menu. Many of the “weeds” have a greater nutritional value than cultivated vegetables.

Let’s start with the “pesky” DANDELION that adds so much vibrant yellow to the landscape right now; the blossoms look like little suns reaching up to the sky. Dandelion is a great friend for an ailing digestive system. Medicinally the leaves are used internally as a diuretic and stimulant for the gall bladder; the root provides support for the digestive system especially the liver. The milky juice from the stems is applied externally to warts and skin blemishes.

Dandelion GREENS are more nutritious than spinach; they contain many vitamins (i.e. vitamin A, C and D) and minerals (i.e. calcium, potassium and iron). Another constituent, photosterols support the body by preventing the accumulation of cholesterol.

The greens should be harvested before the flowers appear; either for immediate use or kept in the fridge for up to 5-6 days after they have been rinsed with cold water. You may want to store them in a damp dish towel. Leaves that are lighter in colour have less of a bitter taste as do younger leaves.

FOOD USES: My favorite is to add Dandelion greens to a salad, scrambled eggs or the Jungle Juice (see previous post). You can also add them to smoothies, guacamole or baking such as pancakes, muffins and biscuits.

Dried leaves, stored in an airtight container, can be prepared as an infusion (tea).

FLOWERS: Gather while in full bloom and fully open. Pluck the petals and add to any baking or water to make a cold infusion. Dandelion flowers don’t keep well, therefore they should be used within a few hours of harvesting. You can also make wine or syrup from the flowers.

ENJOY and be creative. Feel free to share your Dandelion experiences and recipes.

Stay tuned for the next weedy post.

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