Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Celebrating the Dandelion

Peter Gail of Cleveland has written the book that contains everything you’d ever want to know about the common dandelion. He calls it “The Dandelion Celebration,” 151 pages that might surprise you if you’re one of the many gardeners who despise dandelions because they grow in lawns. My father was one of those people, and when I was a child, he’d pay me a nickel for every dandelion that I dug out of our front lawn. But it turns out that dandelions are not trash, they are treasures. Peter Gail shares all of this – and more – in his celebration of the dandelion.

Gail begins by telling us some of dandelions’ complex and long history of food and medicine. He shows us comparisons of dandelion’s nutritional content with other common wild and cultivated foods. We learn that dandelion is the richest source of Vitamin A and magnesium, in his study, as well as a rich source of most of the tested minerals. It is richer in beta-carotene than carrots.

Despite the media attention given to broccoli, collard, and spinach, it turns out that lambs quarters, amaranth, and dandelion -- three common weeds – are far more nutritious than their cultivated counterparts.

There is page after page of the health benefits of eating dandelion, so why don’t more people eat them? Because dandelion is bitter.

So Gail has collected over 600 dandelion recipes, and he includes many of his recipes in this book for turning this bitter weed into a tasty dish. He tells us how to use the roots, leaves, flowers, and hearts. There are recipes for some very unlikely dandelion dishes, like dandelion ice cream, dandelion waffles, and dandelion pie. There are also the standards, such as dandelion wine and coffee.

It’s a great book and should be in your library. Check our Store to get your own copy. Spiral bound for easy-use.

As Gail says, “If you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em!”


mousiemarc said...

I bought the book from your website in January. And yes everything you said in your review here is in that book. By the way, I like your book on the subject of wild food plants as well. Have you looked at John Kallas book, "Edible Wild Plants from dirt to plate." If you haven't it is a great read with the best color photos I've seen in wild food literature. That book also devouts over 50 60 pages to dandelion (the book covers 13 plants total and is 450 some odd pages). Nice review of Peter Gail's book here. Yes it truly is a teasure.

christopher Nyerges said...

Yes, I have John's book too, and you're right about it. I will review more books as time goes on...