Food Under Foot

A blog by that name caught my attention recently. I enjoyed looking over the articles about edible items growing in the wild all around us.

Later, I was looking over the hay-making equipment. I’d placed tarps over the machinery as part of its winter storage. Since the weatherman was predicting strong winds, I wanted to be sure the tarps were secure.

Next to the baler, there were two robust dandelions pushing new leaves and yellow blooms skyward. I thought, “Here’s food under foot.”

Satisfied the equipment was fine, I turned back to the dandelions. Picking two handfuls of tender leaves, I carried the harvest to the kitchen, where I rinsed the leaves in salt water to remove insects and debris.

I’ve never eaten dandelion greens. I placed a large portion of cleaned, fresh leaves into the bottom of a CorningWare casserole. In the freezer, I had a portion of a beef roast left over from a recent meal. I pulled it out, unwrapped it, and plunked the the frozen meat onto the bed of leaves in the roasting dish. A few carrots and peppers were frozen to the edges of the roast, residue from the previous baking. I covered the pan and placed it into the oven for an hour. Once reheated, the roast was sliced and plated. The dandelion greens were scooped out, cooked from the heated juices of the meat, and placed on the plate beside the sliced beef. The accents of orange and red from the carrot and red pepper remnants added visual interest, as well as flavor.

That simple meal, which cost me nothing extra, was amazing! The greens tended to the bitter side by themselves, but, paired with the flavorful meat, were yummy.

Now I intend to harvest more greens from the yard to steam and freeze for future use. One caveat: know the source of your dandelions. You do not want to eat greens that have grown in a yard with a history of toxic sprays. The tap root of the dandelion plant grows deep, pulling nutrients from earth where years of rain and worm-action have carried substances placed on the surface long ago.

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