My grand plans for foraging today ended with a huge splash of sunshine on the patio.
I am addicted to sitting on my patio, with a stack of magazines, newspapers, and sudoku books, any time the temperature is above 60 and the sun is out.
(I've just read Lewis Lapham's impassioned essay, "The Case for Impeachment," in the March Harper's; I'd link to it but it's not available online at the moment. Go find it in print — don't wait.)
Anyway, since the days have been lengthening at Olympian speeds, we enjoyed a good few hours of sunlight today.
So, no. I did not go on the field trip I had planned.
But when I took my doggie out to the grass for a break, I saw a perfect dandelion. It was a bit past ripe, and my new field guide book says dandelions are only palatable before the flowers appear. This one was so mature, the flower had already turned into a puff ball.
However! Cranky and I sampled a leaf, and we pronounced it "tasty." Kinda like arugula, kinda like miners' lettuce. Not bitter, not peppery. Good! (They have bins of disturbingly similar leaves for sale at Whole Foods; $6/lb. Dandelions are free and fresh.)
I am aware that dandelions are also known as "pis-en-lit," French for "wet the bed," due to some diuretic properties of the plant. So I guess we don't want to eat too much of it at once. Er, too far from the loo.
But damn. I wish I had known that those weeds I was dutifully pulling at my last address were purslane. Oh, we had dandelions and miners' lettuce there too. Wouldn't that have made a nice salad?
I contemplated a batch of dandelion wine, to have on hand during Eat Local Challenge month in May. But it takes six months — and it takes a lot of (non-local) sugar, something that has largely fallen out of my diet ever since last year's Eat Local Challenge.
Even so, I couldn't resist photographing the dandelion leaves in a wine glass.