Edible #1 – TAR-AX’-A-CUM O-FFIC-IN-A’-LE

By TF

If scientist created a pill that could help numerous medical issues, like helping to normalize blood sugar levels, help fight certain cancers and dementia, promotes bile flow, lowers bad cholesterol and raise HDL, as well as serves as an anti-rheumatic and an anti-spasmodic, a laxative, a diuretic (with out depleting potassium), provides fiber, aids in proper levels of hydrochloric acids and digestive enzymes,  and helps to aid the liver, pancreas, kidneys,  intestines, stomach, colon, spleen, bladder, as well as helps heart problems,  helps to get rid of artery plaque, and provides nutrients, multiple vitamins and minerals while encreasing your energy, with no side affects  — Would you consider taking it?  whew!  (Wow, was that a ‘run on’ sentence or what?)

Not convinced?  Well, how about if you could use it to help fight acne, hepatitis, jaundice, indigestion, aid weight loss, sooth bee stings, remove moles, calluses, aid sores and cuts?    How about if it was FREE?

OK, would you at least consider tasting the humble, down trodden, little Dandelion?       (Gee, I wonder why it’s not promoted in the US?   Ohhhh!   Right, they tell us to kill it, then they sell us pills instead!)

‘Officinale’ evidently refers to the idea of ‘plants having medicinal applications’.   Taraxacum means possibly, ‘bitter herb’ in Arabic/Persian or more likely in Greek the term refers to ‘get the water flowing’.   Which may be why in French, they reportedly use of the word ‘pissenlit’ when refering to this little plant (meaning ‘wet the bed’).   However,  the word we know as ‘dandelion,’ is said to mean ‘lions teeth’ (dent de lion) and nicely describes the jagged, identifying look of the leaves.

The Dandelion

The yellow flower ( sometimes orange on the mountain dandelion) has about 200 or more ‘petals’.  However, they are not really petals, but individual florets or flowers.  These florets or flowers, later become individual seeds with the familiar ‘silk’ that makes the fluff ball. Leaves are shiny and hairless, being 2″ to 10″ long with the ‘teeth’ like edges curving back toward the root, thus helping to supply the rain water to the plants center.   The flower opens to greet the morning sun then closes at night, usually around 5-6 pm or at the start of a rain.  Here is an interesting read  Botanical.com

The Dandelion appears to have been transported to the America’s in the year 1620 on the Mayflower and was prized enough that the settlers planted it in their gardens and protected it from the wild life by fencing it in.  In modern times, it is evidently still grown in European green houses and the root is registered as a drug in Canada.  It is listed as one of the 6 top herbs in Chinese medicine chests and appears in the US National Formulatory and Pharmacopeias of Hungary, Poland and Switzerland.  It’s reported that in 1984 in the USDA bulletin #8, under ‘Composition of Foods’, that Dandelions ranked among the top 4 vegetables in overall nutritional foods.   (Tell me again, why do we try to kill this little blast of sunshine?}

Dandelions are part of the Asteraceae family (Aster or sunflower) and is a perennial.  Being asexual, the seeds basically clone the plant they come from and therefore have changed very little through the years.  The stem is a single hollow tube, which oozes a white latex liquid,  extending from the rosette leaf  system to a single flower.

Survival Plant Qualifications
#1. Must be readily available or is easily and quickly grown.  A. It is well known in one or many of it’s estimated 600 varieties through out the earth.  Known as a valuable edible/medicinal plant or pesky weed. It is well known among most children at an early age, thanks to the fluffy seeds.  B. It has a deep tap root, which even if there is a little left over after digging it out, it grows again.  It can grow from a leaf being simply buried in the dirt or from the asexual seeds that don’t need pollination.   Of course, they also float in the air to the tune of hundreds of seeds per flower.

#2.  Easily identifiable and distinguishable from poisonous look-a-likes!  A. It’s reported that there are ‘no poisonous look-a-likes of the Dandelion.  B. Though the look-a-likes are not poisonous, some are not necessarily that great to eat as far as flavor and nutrients, while some are quite nutritional.   (A few will be discussed at the end of this article.)

#3.  Must be nourishing and have as many vitamins and minerals as possible.  A. Are you ready for this?   It’s reported that Dandelions have Vitamins A-B1,2,3,5,6,12 C-D-E-K, and P  and are one of the natures best sources of Beta Carotene as well as they contain Sodium, Choline, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Pectin, Folic Acid, Proteins, Potassium, zinc, Biotin, Fiber, Calcium, Manganese, and  Antioxidants.  #4. Must be edible raw or easily prepared under survival conditions.  A. Leaves may be eaten raw as in a salad, cooked or boiled as a spinach type of dish or even a healthy tea.  Roots may be eaten raw though bitter, sliced, simmered, used in vegetable dishes, boiled, baked, roasted or used as a coffee substitute and tea. video  Flowers may be boiled, marinated, deep fried, or made into a tea, beer or a wine.  A couple of resources report indicates stems could be prepared as a spaghetti style or boiled like green beans.  Please note the attached information for suggestions and recipes.  Eat the weeds.     More great info. on dandelions,  this,   this,  and  this

Other uses  #1  Medicinal –  Previously  noted, but  here  also  here  #2. Raw sap in root and stem may be used for glue – as is.  The latex available from the sap is also reported to be as good as what is produced (if not better) in rubber trees, yet less expensive.  Sap is also reported as a mosquito repellent.  #3. Gardening – it  is evidently a great plant to put in mulch, it draws bees for the pollination of other plants.  The roots have been reported as growing as deep as 13 feet, pulling up deeply buried nutrients and minerals to upper soils.  These roots, also break up hard packed soils and clays to better the soil for future plants.

False Dandelions

Catsear, is the most common Dandelion look-a-like.  It has hairy leaves and the stems are more solid and branched, rather than being a single hollow stem as the Dandelion.  Here are a few sites that explain the similarities and differences.  Here , here and here

Hawkweed,  Hawkbeard – less known for eating, but notice this.  Here , here for King Co. ID

Hawkbit,  Here ,  guess all so good for feeding tortoises

Consideration point!

Just thinking about a couple of generations before me and what they ate.  Of course, that was before GMO’s, so called ‘weed killers’ and all the ‘miracle’ pills..  My wife’s grandmother lived into her early 90’s, before she had a stroke.  Before that, she had a grip that would surprise a man twice her size.   Both of my grandmothers lived into their late 80’s and were very active right up till their deaths.  Going to a doctor when they were young, was a rare thing and only when ‘home cures’ didn’t work.
I still remember having Dandelion greens with bacon and onions, simmered in the bacon grease at my grandma’s farm.  My other grandma lived in town and fixed Dandelions greens with seasonings, garlic and boiled it much like spinach, then topped it with a slices of a hard boiled egg and a slab of butter on top.  It evidently was  picked fresh from their pesticide free yards.
Today those would be considered an ‘artery clogging meals’, but I really don’t see much difference in their eventuality and those of us today, except they were healthier.  Do you think maybe, the GMO vegetables, the ‘pills’ that the big medicine companies tell us to take and the ‘weed/bug killers’ we’ve sprayed on our yards and gardens have something to do with that?   Isn’t modern science great! 
Oh, by the way, did you know that some of the same companies (or their subsidiaries) that make our pills and foods make the poisons for our yards.
Hmm, never mind the ramblings of the old man at the desk, he’s just thinking out loud!

NOTE!!!    When foraging or in a survival situations,  “do not eat plants near road ways!”  There is a danger of run off chemicals from vehicles and road tar, as well as airborne drift from exhaust.  Be very careful too, not to eat plants that have been sprayed with pesticides and weed killers.  This spraying is common along road ways, but also on peoples private properties and fields. Remember – much of this nations farmlands have been ‘fertilized’ with heavy metals and weed killers for many decades.

A couple of years ago, I observed the spraying of wild black berry bushes along a road that followed a river in a nearby valley.  What was concerning, was the area was open to the road with no fencing and was, I think, in mid or late summer.  The plants took quite awhile to die and I’m not sure if berries were ever available on the plants, but it didn’t seem like good timing to me and with no warning signs!   The next spring, with the dead brush removed, they began planting trees and shrubs though this area, which literally took in acres.   The point is that  this area had not been ‘maintained’ for years and was a ‘common’ place for locals to pick berries.

Also — Never eat plants that you have not positively identified as safe!  Start learning to identify plants now, so you’ll know the edible and medicinal ones from the poisonous, before an emergency strikes!  We will be publishing more on this subject as well as there are many great sites and books available to help you.

Be careful, not only your health, but your life depends on it.      Do your research on where and what you eat!!!

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