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Sunday, 26 April 2009

Dandelion leaves anyone?


I bought a book today (Grown in Britain Cookbook) published by Dorling Kindersley about British grown/reared foods and in it found the fact that one can eat dandelion leaves as part of a salad. I have plenty of these in my back yard so I thought I would give them a try. It also made me investigate what other herbs (herbes for you France based folk) I have in the small garden space in my rented house and garden. On recommendation I let the leaves soak in some warm water for 15 minutes and they tasted bitter but interesting and they were totally free. They had been in my back yard for years and I had no idea I could eat them.


rosemary

I also have some rosemary, oregano and thyme as well as two varieties of mint to choose from.

thyme
Sometimes it is just great to sniff them in the early evening when their scent seems the most aromatic.


sniff the oregano

10 comments:

Gail's Man said...

If you can get some burdock to go with the dadilions, then you could make yourself a drink.

StGeorgeOfEngland said...

Ahhhh herbs. Now you are talking. A subject I love.
Burdock root is tasty. Dig it up when not too mature (about 6 to 8 inches long), peel off the outer skin and either chew raw, boil or bake. Tastes just like the pop.
Dandelion leaves are very nutritious, as are nettle (use the 'dead nettle' that has the white or pinkish flowers on and doesn't sting). These are full of vitamins although both slightly bitter in taste. Nettles are like spinach. Just soak in salty water for half an hour then wilt in a pan as you would spinach with a little butter.
I grow my own herbs on my balcony which I use regularly. I harvest and dry my own Bay leaves too.
As well as culinary they have medicinal uses.
Rosemary and lavendar are useful for dealing with stress when used in aromatherapy. These two also heal muscle stress and aches. Pick two or three good sprigs, place in a sock or stocking and suspend under the hot bath tap to release the oils. Beware as they can cause skin irritation if you are sensitive. A trial by rubbing some on soft skin will tell you.
Herb Robert makes an excellent gargle for sore throats.
Coughs and colds I usually deal with using a little warm water with a tablespoon of good local honey, a squirt of lemon juice (Jif is fine) and a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon.
I could go on, the list is endless.

Enjoy your leaves.
G.

Marian Barker said...

One bag full of French dandelions have just been dispatched - in the interest of science of course!

The Courteous Chihuahua said...

Did you make a proper salad with dressing or just eat plain leaves?

Phil Lowe said...

Guy: great tips there and I've always wondered how people eat nettles. Might give those a try soon.

Gail's Man: dadilions? are they the male plants?

Courteous: just ate them washed and plain with some cos lettuce and tomatoes and sardines in a simple salad (with boiled eggs.)

Moannie said...

Dandelions are called 'Pis en lit' in France and are gathered by most country folk and eaten regularly when they are young and well out of the way of passing dogs. Served with a sauce of oil, vinegar, mustard and seasoning, yummy, and very very good for the cleansing the blood. Young nettles are delish when treated like spinach, wilted quickly with just enough water to stop the leaves burning.

French Fancy said...

I love sauge and thym (see how French I went there) and put them in to all sorts of things that they really are not meant for - but somehow it always work (or so I like to kid myself)

Phil Lowe said...

Thanks Moanie 'Pis en lis' like the name.The sauce sounds worth a try as well.

FF: I recall my first trip to Bordeaux and getting blown away with the selection of herbes aromatique in Monoprix the posh supermarche. My favourite French name was Persil (Parsely) because it amused me that a brand of washing powder was named the same in the UK.

Phil Lowe said...

doh, meant to add link to my picture at the time too;

http://www.flickr.com/photos/frenchyphil/17615141/in/set-187487/

StGeorgeOfEngland said...

Moannie reminded me there of something I read some years ago about dandelions being known as Pis-A-Bed. As kids we were always told that if you ate them you would wet the bed. It was not until delving into the wonderful world of herbal medicines a few years ago that I found out that a tea made from the steeped leaves is a diuretic and was used to purge poisons from the system in years long passed.
Now where did I put my herb book...........?
G.