The Hippo


May 25, 2020








 Dandelion Soda

Courtesy of Rivka Schwartz
1 cup of dandelion blossoms 
½ cup of organic sugar 
Juice from one lemon 
¼ cup of whey 
Non-chlorinated water 
Pick dandelion blossoms by removing it from the stem (don’t worry about the green part directly under the blossom). 
In a quart measuring cup, add the dandelions blossoms, sugar and lemon juice. 
Pour in boiling water up to the 4-cups mark. Give it a good stir. 
Let steep for one to two hours. Strain. 
Add whey into a plastic liter bottle (you can reuse a regular soda bottle for this). Then, add the strained liquid.  
Fill with filtered or other non-chlorinated water up to the neck of the bottle. Cap tightly. 
Let ferment at room temperature until the bottle hardens. It should have the hardness of a soda bottle when squeezed, but should not be rock hard. 
Refrigerate for two days. 
Open outside slowly in case of over-carbonation and drink. 

Dandy dishes
Learn about harvesting and cooking with dandelions

By Angie Sykeny

 Many people think of dandelions as a pesky weed, but Beaver Brook Association instructor Rivka Schwartz and Education Director Celeste Barr are hoping to change that with their first Dandelion Delights workshop, happening Thursday, May 11, at the Beaver Brook Nature Center in Hollis. Participants will learn how to harvest dandelions and how to use them in a variety of drinks and food dishes. 

“A lot of people pull [dandelions] out or put pesticides on their lawn to get rid of them, and they aren’t aware that they can actually eat them,” Schwartz said. “They’re usually surprised and a little wary when they hear that, but once they try a dandelion sauteed with a little olive oil and garlic, they really like it.”
The workshop will begin with a brief introduction about how to identify dandelions outside and how to harvest their roots, leaves and blossoms. Then, the group will head out to the grassy areas around the nature center to practice what they learned and pick some dandelions to cook with. 
Anyone can harvest dandelions growing in their yard, so long as the yard hasn’t been treated with pesticides, and there’s even a growing number of grocery stores carrying dandelions in their produce sections. 
The best time of year to get them is early spring. If you’re harvesting them on your own, simply collect the parts you want to use and keep them in the freezer until you’re ready to cook with them. 
After harvesting, workshop participants will bring their dandelions to the Beaver Brook kitchen, where Schwartz and Barr will walk them through how to make different drinks and food dishes utilizing dandelion parts. The blossoms can be used to make soda or wine, or they can be battered and fried to enjoy like a snack or appetizer. 
“They’re really good as a fried food,” Schwartz said. “It’s not too chewy because the petals are very light, and it’s not too strong of a taste. It kind of tastes like if you were to batter and fry mushrooms.”  
The dandelion roots can be chopped up, dried and roasted to create a “dandy blend” coffee alternative. The leaves can be sauteed in a stir fry-style dish, or used in a tea, pesto, frittata or salad. 
“Dandelions work really well with a vinaigrette dressing,” Schwartz said. “They have a bitter taste to it, like arugula and those kinds of bitter greens. … The leaves become progressively more bitter the older they are.”
After making a few dandelion recipes, there will be time for participants to sit down and enjoy the finished products. They’ll also be given some recipes to take home.  
Finally, the workshop will also cover information about the nutritional and medicinal benefits of dandelions; Schwartz said dandelions are high in vitamins and minerals and help to detoxify the body, promote healthy digestion and support the liver. 
“They’re very nutritious and good for you,” she said. “Something that you’d normally [weed] out of your garden actually has more nutrition than a lot of the things you’re trying to grow.” 

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