"Has there ever been a year for dandelions like this year?”
Standing in the kitchen, after his walk with the dog, he looks wistful, undecided.
Gathering and preparing dandelions for wine-making is labour-intensive;
dandelion heads must be plucked when in full bloom,
preferably late in the morning or early in the afternoon,
and always on a dry and sunny day.
Leave it too late and the flowers will be half-closed and difficult to handle.
Make sure that every trace of stem is removed,
and also remove as many as possible of the green sepals that enclose the yellow petals.
If you don’t, your wine will be bitter.
Kitchen scissors are the tool of choice.
He has decided, he will make dandelion wine,
the first in many years.
Be warned, however.
A strong bladder and digestive system are essential if you want to come away unscathed.
The dandelion’s other names are:
Old man’s clock,
the seeds are known as:
Dandelions mean carpets of golden-yellow flowers, jagged green leaves (the dent de lion - lion’s tooth) and clouds of featherweight seeds blowing in the wind. Albrecht Duerer saw the appeal even of the closed and withering flower-heads and included them in his extraordinary close-up portrait, painted in 1503, of a square foot of meadowland, "Das Grosse Rasenstueck". Shakespeare included the plant in the elegy in Cymbeline : “Golden girls and lads all must / As chimney sweepers come to dust.” Keats imagined “The soft rustle of a maiden’s gown/ Fanning away the dandelion’s down.”
Children still blow dandelion down from the round dandelion clocks - the ‘chimney sweepers’ - to ‘tell the time’. The number of blows needed to remove all the seeds gives the hour. if you can catch one on the wing. you can make a wish.
Lastly, dandelions appear more and more on menus; the traditional French dish Pissenlit au Lard has fried bacon scraps (lardons) and croutons served on a bed of dandelion salad; dandelion leaves can be found in ordinary pub salads. There’s dandelion pasta, pickled dandelions, and stir-fried dandelion.
In spite of all the above I have spent a good part of today’s gardening gouging out dandelions in my flower beds. Lesser celandine and dandelions are this gardener’s greatest enemies, no matter how highly tradition values them.
Tess Kincaid used Jamie Wyeth’s image
`’Lighthouse Dandelions” for her prompt
This post is loosely connected.