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CINDY DAY: Those darn – but handy – dandelions

I know lots of people who love to eat young dandelion greens.  It looks like Kim Hill Chornaby found a dandelion eating rabbit on her property in Geary, New Brunswick.  Maybe I should get a rabbit!
I know lots of people who love to eat young dandelion greens. It looks like Kim Hill Chornaby found a dandelion eating rabbit on her property in Geary, New Brunswick. Maybe I should get a rabbit! - Contributed

It’s spring, the grass is greening up nicely and the flower beds are coming to life.

I love flowers and my favourite colour is yellow, yet I have a love-hate relationship with dandelions. I fully understand and appreciate the important role they play: nectar and pollen from dandelions are used by honey bees for valuable energy and feeding their spring young. Still, I would rather not have them dot my front lawn.

In order to convince myself to love the little spring posies, I’m listing some very cool things about dandelions:

They once were referred to as nature’s weather barometers: Here’s why. When the weather is fair, the flowers extend to full bloom, but when the humidity is high as is before it rains, the flowers close up like little umbrellas. They do this to preserve the pollen and keep the nectar from being diluted. You might have also noticed dandelions close up at night too. They open up after the morning dew has passed and things begin to dry out. Like many of us, dandelions react to the weather.

They are very nutritious: Compared to spinach, one of our present-day “superfoods,” dandelion leaves have eight times more antioxidants, twice as much calcium, three times more Vitamin A, and five times more vitamin K and vitamin E.

The young leaves make a wonderful addition to your salad greens: But I strongly recommend seeking out the organic variety from the farmers’ market or grocery store. If you live in an area where you can pick the non-dog park, non-pesticide variety, go for it.

You can make wine with the leaves: Mom made dandelion wine one year. She was quite pleased with it but my sister and I thought it tasted like dirty old socks. Let’s say it’s probably an acquired taste.

And finally, a little something from Grandma. As dandelions turned to seed, my friends and I would rush to pick them, close our eyes, make a wish, and blow the seeds into the air. Grandma told us that if we could blow all the seeds off a dandelion with a single breath, then the person you love will love you back (and the bees would be thankful for your help).


Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network

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