The last of this batch, that is, in the refrigerator.
And it’s not just dandelions, either; I’ve run out of my entire fresh bounty of wild edible plants, having spent my Fourth of July weekend embroiled in other pursuits—a tandem, costumed A-Basin snowboarding pond-skim with Gregg being one of the highlights—plus entertaining old friends-turned-gypsies who rolled into town in their beat-up RV as well as working an intensive new summer job writing A&E stories for our local paper, The Summit Daily, the noon deadline for which I have one story to go but can no longer resist taking a break to draft this short piece about dandelions.
So as I was saying, I ran out of wild edible plants—and to some extent, things to say and words with which to say them, so I’ll try to use just a few words now.
This exciting entry is about what we had for dinner last night, which was turkey burgers, oven-fried red potatoes with finely chopped dandelions, and “dandelion noodles.”
Gregg’s Oven-Fried Red Potatoes with Finely Chopped Dandelions
Gregg likes to make oven-fried potatoes and he’s always experimenting with variations, so last night I proffered the last of the dandelions for the purpose. He was cute preparing them—he got an immature flower in the mix, which when he chopped it, disintegrated into tiny thin yellow and white petals all over the place, causing him to exclaim: “Oh! A flower! Look what it did!”
“That’s what they do,” I replied, chuckling, since I know so very much about dandelions now. “Throw it in.”
Gregg cubed the potatoes very small and mixed them with veggie oil, Penzeys BBQ 3000 seasoning (my mom likes to give me Penzeys in my Christmas stocking), and finely chopped dandelions until evenly coated, then baked for 20 minutes. They were yum!
“I know how to solve the problem of lawns in America,” Gregg said, referring to a brief we read in The Week about the myriad ills of lawn-keeping, which range from water depletion and pollution to downright wasteful spending (and of course I have my own opinions on the subject as it relates to the persecution of my much beloved weeds.) “…just have them covered in dandelions that we eat all the time!” he said. I swear; this guy is very endearing.
Dandy Noodles in the Fridge 5 Days Old
Not to be confused with pasta-style dandelion noodles made of flour and finely chopped dandelions, about which the Krockmals write in A Naturalist’s Guide to Cooking with Wild Plants (1974), the “dandelion noodles” to which I refer are Samuel Thayer’s (Nature’s Garden, 2010). He says to “find long stalks growing in shade or mixed with tall herbs and grasses, picking only those with young blossoms and light green stems,” and then to “remove the flowers, boil the stalks for ten minutes in a full pot of water, drain, salt, and serve.”
I didn’t have Thayer’s book on hand when I collected my first batch of dandelion flower stalks so I ended up collecting thick, mature stalks, their flowers flowering in full, at 11,000 feet in the Colorado Rockies. The flower stalks were light green, however, and none had a dead flower atop it. By the time I used them, the flowers were very wilted, so I discarded those and just cooked the stems, though my original plan was to try them flowers and all.
I expected very bitter dandeliony results, but in fact there was not even a hint of bitterness to the bright green boiled “noodles.” I served them salted and buttered; they had a good texture and were pleasing to the eye, so those were a hit.