Tag Archive for herbs

Dehydrated Dandelion

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Dandelions are one of the many “weeds” that Americans spend a good amount of time trying to rid their yards, driveways, and sidewalks of. For no reason at all these poor little plants have been deemed the more hellish thing to crop up in a suburban piece of land. Few realize the number of wonderful things that can be made out of dandelions.

Their leaves can me sauteed and eaten dressed with butter, vinegar, or anything else the pallet prefers. The heads had be used to make dandelion wine. There is such a thing as dandelion syrup, which I hear is delicious. The entire plant can be fed to numerous critters to supplement their diet. Not to mention the seed heads can keep a toddler entertained for hours on end.

One way that dandelions can be used is as a detoxifying tea which can help shed water weight and flush the kidneys – in turn helping to balance hormones. Now that this wonderful little tea has become a staple in our home, I decided it was time to dry some out myself. I was in for a bit longer of a process than what I expected.

IMG_2353Dandelions run rampant around our home (the toddler helping to sow the seeds is only an added bonus for them). I decided that I would try digging them out of the ditch up by the road that we live on. Our town does not use any form of pesticide, so I felt completely safe doing this. **If you are digging from a common area and do now know if there are pesticides used, PLEASE find out first!**

A note to those trying to dig out dandelion root for the first time: do not try to dig in an area where the plants have been unharrassed.

IMG_2357I quickly found myself using a spade, trowel, and a kitchen fork to try and dig this bugger out. Diamond (who’s leash you see in the photo), just looked at me like I was a crazy woman. I moved down to our back lawn and near the stream and had much better luck. There seem to be two key things to look for to have success with this: 1. sandy soil and 2. young plants. The younger the plant, the smaller the tap root. While that means more that need to be collected, that also means an easier time pulling them out of the soil.

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If you look at the photo above, you can easily tell the younger plants (fairly straight, thinner tap roots) from the older ones that are wrapped around one another, forming an alien looking tuber.

After getting a decent size haul of plants, I double washed them in the stream and then lobbed the tops off. (Both the rabbit and chickens were delighted to have fresh veggies delivered right to them.) I then brought in the roots for a good scrubbing in fresh, cold water, and let them work on air drying while I diced them into roughly uniform sized slices, leaving the really thing ones in lengths of roughly one inch.

IMG_2360The key to drying is to wait until the roots are crumbly and can be broken down by hand with no sponginess left. For my slightly older dehydrator it took about 12 hours. Supposedly this can be done via air drying, but living in a humid climate, I wasn’t about to try it.

 

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Connected up on the Homestead Blog hop!
Rooster sitting in a barn on a rural farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Originally published on: Jun 12, 2014.)

Pigs-in-a-Blanket and General Goingons

Before I get around to doing a general update on what’s been happening around our little patch of land, I wanted to share the new family favorite when it comes to hot dogs. In lieu of trying to make our own buns or eating them with bread, which is sacrilegious in the way of hotdogs, if you ask me, we’ve come to making homemade pigs-in-a-blanket.

I can’t recall where or when I came across the recipe, but what we used for the blankets I titled “Super Quick Wheat Buns.”

  • 1 c. warm water
  • 3 tbs. warm water
  • 1/3 c. oil
  • 1/4 c. sugar or honey
  • 2 tbs. yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 c. whole wheat flour

Begin by combining the water, yeast, oil, and sweetener, letting that rest for 15 minutes. After adding in the additional ingredients, roll out and cut into triangles. Wrap a triangle around each hotdog, using a little egg wash or water to help seal the dough down. Bake these off at 400F for 8 to 10 minutes on a greased cooking sheet. We’ve also made hamburger buns with this recipe as well. It’s very universal.

In other news, we’re almost there on the gardens. We’ve been slowly fencing them all in, recycling some old cribs and pallets for some of the fencing and using basic chicken wire in other areas. It’s a bit of a hodge-podge, but each garden will have it’s own style and look to it.  Our chickens like to follow me wherever I am, and unfortunately this also means into the gardens for weeding. Some plants have already been started, and others transplanted. Onions, chives, green peppers, carrots, and bush beans have all found their way into the soil. Here’s hoping that cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, pole beans, bush peas, pumpkins, and potatoes will be soon after.

There’s a lot to go, still, and we’re hoping to chip away at it this week and have everything done this weekend.  I’m hoping in the new future to get a chance to update the garden page and add some photos of our garden beds as well. Hopefully that will become more of a living record of how things progress through the season.

Joe has been doing a lot of work on the front and back stairs that we’re hoping to post pictures of eventually. The back stairs needed a lot of shoring up, especially since there were no braces underneath. The front stairs, while intact, we really wanted to add a larger top landing to for safety’s sake. We were able to recycle free pallets for the wood in both projects, and once their painted, they will both look great!

Speaking of painting, we’ve been spending the last four weekends working on patching up the paint on our house to appease the powers that be. Joe’s folks have been kind enough to help us out with that. It will be grand when everything’s done and over, though, as it’s really cutting into the time that we’ve been able to spend on the gardens and putting up next year’s wood supply. With the upcoming long weekend, we’re hoping to play catch-up.