Category Archives: Dandelions

RIP The King of the Dandelions, Dandelion Dude Peter Gail

Even though I never met him, I was saddened to learn this morning that one on North Americas leading foragers Peter Gail has died. I first came across him on the old foraging email groups, first Edible Wild in 1999 and later Wild Forager and Forage Ahead…which inspired me to buy his book Dandelion Celebration (1994).  He was the first person I had come across that had actually planted a dandelion bed in his garden and he also organised the National Dandelion Cookoff in Dover, Ohio for many years! You can find the excerpt about Gail from my book Around the World in 80 plants below!
102_6577 571

Excerpt from Around the World in 80 plants:

“I eventually saw the light (about eating dandelions”when I followed a discussion on the ForageAhead email group between two of North
America’s leading foragers ‘Dandelion Dude’ Peter Gail and John Kallas. Gail has written several essays and books about dandelions including his Dandelion Celebration (1994). He also founded the group ‘Defenders of Dandelions’ to provide information to those who want to make their neighbours aware just how good dandelions are and stop the chemical warfare. He has also organised the National Dandelion Cookoff in Dover, Ohio, still going strong since 1993. Gail says he ate dandelions every day, fresh in the summer and in dehydrated form in winter, growing his own from transplanted wild roots on raised beds in his garden for ease of access. Gail has been rightly coined the King of the Dandelions! However, it was John Kallas’ web essay Making Dandelions Palatable that explains how such a bitter weed could be so popular around the world. To start with, Gail admits to thinking he was being poisoned the first time he ate dandelion and Kallas also found them very bitter, but was determined to solve the riddle. He first points out that foraging books downplay the bitterness and thinks that the oft-quoted difference between the first mild leaves in spring and bitter at flowering time is also exaggerated. As a result many people are
disappointed and permanently put off when they sample their first dandelion. I was with him here … He says that as part of his PhD he interviewed old timers in rural Michigan. Dandelions were the most common wild collected food in this group and, no, they weren’t bitter, they said. Upon asking how they prepared the dandelions they explained that the fresh leaves were mixed with bacon grease, bacon, eggs, salt and sometimes vinegar. Incidentally, salade de pissenlit et lardons (salad of dandelion and bacon) is still prepared in France today. In most cultures as you can see in the around-the-world review above, dandelions are almost never eaten fresh alone.”

Weeded “Pissenlit Coeur Plein Ameliore” is back!

It’s not easy being a Wwoofer at my place as this spring when I discovered two of my prize dandelions had been weeded ;) She was devastated when I told her, reassuring her that she probably hadn’t managed to get all the root out and that it would come back in due course..and in any case I had saved seed of both (which I promptly sowed again). Well, dear Wwoofer, “Pissenlit Coeur Plein Ameliore” (originally bought in a French supermarket about 18 years ago) has returned :)

P1760055

Taraxocks ;)

These were what were waiting in my post box this morning and I’ve been wearing a stupid grin ever since ;) ;) :)
Someone who was at my talk at the Hurdal Ecovillage earlier this year had been inspired enough to knit these wonderful socks for me!!
She wrote: “As you clearly already have green fingers, I thought it would probably be fun for you to have green toes and feet too!!”
Probably inspired by a cross of my Aster scaber story: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=3103
…and my moss-leaved dandelion T-shirt story…

Kosmorama/ Credo diversity dinner #1

Last night (8th March 2017) was the first of two events I had been asked to take part in celebrating the diversity of vegetables that our area has on offer (or could have on offer) even in winter! The Trondheim Kosmorama international film festival are showing two films related to food. Last night, the film “NOMA: My perfect storm” was shown and around 40 people also bought tickets to a fantastic 10-15 course, 4 hour meal (I lost count) at Trondheim’s NOMA: Credo!
I supplied a number of vegetables for the dinner and these are shown here, several being served for the first time in Norway :)
P1710242
All the veggies including Primula elatior (oxlip / hagenøkleblom flowers)
P1710250
Blanched dandelions (løvetann)
P1710248
Oca, ulluco, Hablitzia shoots (stjernemelde) and Chicago onio
P1710247
Blanched horseradish (top left) with blanched wild dandelion, Aleksandra garlic bulbil sprouts, Chicago onion (Allium cernuum), different types of Oca (Oxalis tuberosa) and Ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus – green tubers)
P1710245
Sweet cicely / spansk kjørvel seed sprouts at the top with blanched horseradish shoots at bottom and blanched wild dandelion on the right