September 28, 2016 - 12:06 PM
There are four to six weeks left in the busy season of collecting and selling wild mushrooms. I depend on this crop for my living, and I am pushing my physical and mental limits producing before the freeze. Fortunately, when I feel I have pushed it too much, help is not far away.
The edible plants thriving in our human habitat can meet our needs better than anything else. There is no vegetable or supplement that can trump the benefits of fresh dandelion greens.
How do you eat them? Here is a quick guide.
Do not harvest in summer. When temperatures are high, dandelion leaves are bitter. The opposite is true with cool weather.
Find large specimens that are in a 'rapid-growth stage'. Eating leaves that are in a growth spurt means the greens will be tender and easy to consume. It will never be the same as lettuce because lettuce has swollen water cells from industrial fertilizer (as does every veggie in the supermarket).
Cut at the root and leave the 'head' intact. This will make handling much easier.
Dandelion leaves are great with a simple dressing and tomatoes. Also try walnuts and goat cheese or cooking them with scrambled eggs.
There is no downside to consuming dandelion on a regular basis. If you are concerned about spray, know that there is no Roundup boogeyman running around indiscriminately spraying plants. Cities will place a sign acknowledging any chemical treatment on public land.
Make sure you do avoid the orchards. Modern fruit growing has robbed us of clean land and water in some parts of the Okanagan and we have to do the best we can with what is left.
Just use common sense and have faith that no matter where it comes from, it is very likely to be safer for consumption than any fresh produce available from the supermarket.
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