Dandelion Blossom Poppers

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

When I walked to the mailbox this morning I noticed dandelions coming up in the yard not far from where crocus' were peeping out too! Can springtime be far behind?

Besides their wealth of medicinal benefits, the happy little dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) reminds me of so many lovely things like... sunshine, generosity, abundance, poetry and yes, these delicious blossom poppers!

It's a comfort to know one can forage for food in the wild (or your own yard) for free, craft remedies and cook meals from what you find. Just be considerate and get permission if you need to and be a good steward of the plants and their habitat. Choose plants that are free of pesticides. Know for certain what you are taking and leave much more behind than what you take. It might be hard to wipe out the prolific dandelion but you understand.

This is a simple recipe that needs minimal guidance. Give it a try and surprise your family and friends with just how tasty these are.

Ingredients

Fresh dandelion blossoms
Salt water
Egg - whisked
Ghee - or oil of your choice
Flour - seasoned to your liking (I just use what I have on hand like I would for chicken, such as salt, pepper, paprika, etc. and taste it along the way until just right).

Note: Proportions will be according to how many blossoms you choose to fry up.

Directions


Pinch the blossoms off as close to the stem (sepal) as possible, wash and place in a bowl with a little salt water for about 10 minutes. This encourages any little critters to vacate!

When you're satisfied that they're nice and clean give them a final rinse and bounce them around in a strainer to get the excess moisture off and lay them on a paper towel.

Next, whisk the egg in one bowl and put your seasoned flour in another one. Toss your blossoms into the egg to quickly coat and then remove them to the flour for a stir until they're coated. At this point let them sit a few minutes while heating the ghee in a skillet; it gives the flour and egg a good chance to hold on.


Once the ghee is hot enough add the seasoned blossoms and fry, stirring and turning until golden brown. When they're ready, remove to a paper-towel and drain.

Oh my goodness, these are so yummy and you don't need any more of a recipe than this. Use your instincts on how to season and for how long to fry. You can do it...have confidence in your inner forager-fryer person!!


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Skullcap

Sunday, February 2, 2020


Common name: Skullcap. Aka – scullcap, blue skullcap, mad-dog skullcap, madweed, hoodwort, helmet flower, blue pimpernel, hooded willow herb, Virginian skullcap.
Botanical name: Scutellaria lateriflora
Family name: Lamiaceae (mint family)

Overview: Native American herb. Harvest the aerial parts when flowers are blooming, mid to late summer. Skullcap became well known in the 19th century as a treatment for rabies, hence the folk name “mad dog”. There are around 100 species of Scutellaria.

Historically, the Cherokee used skullcap to stimulate menstruation, relieve breast pain and encourage expulsion of the placenta.

Today it’s mainly appreciated as a nerve tonic and for its restorative properties.

Primary therapeutic constituents: flavonoids (including baicalein, baicalin, scutellarin, wogonin), volatile oil, tannin, bitter glycoside, fat bitter principles, sugar and resin.

Medicinal actions: sedative, nervine, antispasmodic, anodyne, hypotensive.

Common uses: Anxiety, headache, stress, tonic for almost all disorders of the nervous system, insomnia, hysteria, convulsions, hydrophobia, epilepsy, neuralgia, relaxes uterine tissue, reliable calming action on an agitated mind, inability to pay attention, alcohol and drug withdrawal, epilepsy and chorea.

Skullcap has an affinity for the peripheral nervous system. Especially, “When one is experiencing colors as too bright, lights are too intense, and things are felt too intensely in general and they feel nervous inside; muscles are often twitchy; twitching during sleep; wants to crawl out of their skin”. ~ Matthew Wood1

“Skullcap is perhaps the most relevant nervine available to us in the Western materia medica. It effectively soothes nervous tension while renewing and revivifying the central nervous system” ~ David Hoffman2

Other specific indications: Lack of resistance to stimulation, headaches after stimulating meetings and events (can take preemptively). Nervous fear.

Technique: Extract, tea, freeze-dried leaves, smoking, massage oil, capsules.

A typical mild sedative is a combination of equal parts skullcap, hops and valerian root tea or extract taken 3 times a day, especially a half hour before retiring. Dosage information from The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra.

Skullcap seems to work best as a tonic when extracted fresh. Dried skullcap has a more sedative action.

Cautions and Contraindications: Considered safe even at high doses BUT, be sure to obtain from reputable sources – some reports of liver damage from cross-contamination. Can potentiate sedative medications. Avoid during pregnancy.

Taste: Bitter (mild), earthy, slightly sweet

Energy: Cooling, warming, drying, grounding, relaxing, restorative. Persons with a hot constitution feel the relaxing effects quicker – almost as a sedative. Cool constitutions enjoy effects as a tonic; restorative remedy.  

Educational Video by 7Song (a personal favorite - don’t miss it!). It covers botanical identification, useful species, wild crafting, medicine making and parts of the plant used. It covers uses of the plant as a nervine, sedative, skeletal muscle relaxant and how it combines well with other medicinal plants.



References:

The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D. p. 194

Herbal Academy, n.d. Skullcap monograph. Retrieved from https://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com/monographs/#/monograph/3047

The Earthwise Herbal vol II – A Complete Guide to New World Medicinal Plants by Matthew Wood1. p. 323-326

The Modern Herbal Dispensatory – A Medicine Making Guide by Thomas Easley | Steven Horne. p. 301

Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Andrew Chevallier, FNIMH. p.135

Medical Herbalism – The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine by David Hoffmann2, FNIMH, AHG. p.



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Windowsill In Winter

Saturday, February 1, 2020


Rosemary and her friends - Pepper, Marj, Reggie and Al are wintering over in the kitchen this year. They love this southwest facing window during the daytime. They look out and chat about the birds who come to hop around and nibble at the feeders. They watch the wind when it blows, the rain and the snow when it falls and they dream of springtime.

Truth be told, they’re spoiled now - being indoors. Every Sunday they go to the spa for a soothing chat with mom as she bathes them and they drink deep of clean warm water. It’s a good life if you can get it.

They know the days are getting longer and even though it’s just barely February their talk turns to the smell of earth warming in the sun. There is hope.

And… there is mom, sipping her tea, thumbing through seed catalogs!


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