I guess I will always be an inquisitive child. My curiosity knows no bounds. Once my interest has been piqued there is no stopping me until I have learned what I want to learn. I will undertake an experiment in a heartbeat.
Ever since I was a kid I have had a keen interest in wild edible plant foods. There was a time when they were an important source of nutrition in my diet. Even though it is not now an economic necessity, I still frequently supplement my diet with wild edibles for their superior nutritive and medicinal properties as well as their great flavors.
It is probably common knowledge that dandelion greens are edible (although too bitter for my taste) and that the flowers can be made into wine. The roots are also known to be dried and roasted to make a coffee-like beverage or used as tea or tincture for medicinal purposes, but I have never seen mention of dandelion roots being eaten as a vegetable.
When I took the compost out yesterday evening I wandered the backyard a bit contemplating the coming growing season. I paused to pull weeds out of one of my raised beds. Amongst the weeds in that bed was a healthy looking dandelion plant. Seeing the size of the roots aroused my curiosity.
After scrubbing the roots with a stiff brush, I cut and boiled them in a little water. I was anticipating a tough woody result which would be incredibly bitter. But, no! The roots were soft and tender and had a very mild pleasant flavor. The flavor was reminiscent of something I had eaten before but I couldn’t pin it down. There was an thin inner core that was tough and stringy but easily removed when the root was cut in half or the cooked root was mashed with a fork.
I am not a lawn manicurist. I hate everything about lawns, especially the mowing part. The best part about a period of drought is that the grass stops growing and I don’t have to mow as often. You can be sure that I do not strew chemical fertilizers to encourage it grow or herbicides to inhibit the weeds, so there is no fear of being poisoned by consuming edible weeds that grow on the property.
After last nights experiment I had to give it another try. I dug up a handful of dandelion plants from around the yard. None had roots even close to the size of the one plant I pulled up yesterday. That is because it was growing in a raised bed containing 100% organic matter and not in the dense clay soil typical of the area.
Only someone obsessed with seeing something through would have spent the time I did trimming and scrubbing the roots.
I steamed the cleaned dandelion roots and mashed them through a sieve to separate out the root skins and tough inner core.
The yield was only a small taste for the two of us, but my curiosity is satisfied. I just wish I could identify the familiar smell and flavor.
Okay… Playtime is over… Time to do the dishes…