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Tuesday

How to love a Dandelion


If Ella Wheeler Wilcox is correct that, “A weed is but an unloved flower.”, then I can happily report we are 100% weed free at our abode. My little ones have always seen the beauty in all of nature.  Including Dandelions.   I tend to agree with them. Dandelions are lovely.  So what if they don’t grow in a straight line and ants just adore making a home in them?  They are brightly colored, hearty, and full of great nutrients like: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin B complex, zinc, iron, and potassium. 

But sadly for those of us in residential environments they don’t go with most neighborhood guidelines.  At our house, because we do not use toxic pesticides and such we can harvest our dandelions, rather than “weed” them.   We typically turn our harvest into an awesome summer balm. 

 

Harvest:

1.       Where we pick matters.  We don’t dry dandelions we pick that are super close to a roadway or our neighbor’s property line.  We do however still “harvest them” and use them for crafting projects and play.  (They make great prints!)

2.       When we pick it tends to be the late morning or early afternoon.  I find the flower heads are more open at that time of the day.

3.       One more note about where, excuse the crass moment here.  We have three dedicated spots on our property were our pup eliminates.  This helps us make sure we don’t harvest any dandelions that may have received a visit from her.  Seriously, eeeew. Sorry to point it out but it’s totally important.  This is especially true if you intend on using your dried dandelions in any sort of food or tea. 

4.       We spend a lot of time singing Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”.  Ants love these little flowers as much as we do and make themselves quite at home.  Shake them before dropping them into your baskets.   

Drying

At the moment we do not have a dehydrator.  <Insert deep sigh here> We find air drying works best for us.  I find air drying holds the bright yellow color a bit better than solar drying.  If you do have a dehydrator check out my fellow green mom blogger: The Homesteading Hippy.  Here is how we do it:

1.       Pluck the heads from the stems of the flower

2.       Rinse in cool water and pat dry.

3.       Lay flower heads out flat on an unpaper towel or two or three. 

 

Making our balm:

Once the flowers are dry we make an infused coconut oil using fractionated coconut oil and our dried dandelions.  If you have allergy concerns with coconut you can also use olive oil.  It works beautifully as well.  To infuse our oil we simply cover our dandelions in a mason jar in our brightest window for anywhere from 12 to 18 days.  We do check it daily to ensure it doesn’t go rancid. It’s not happened to us but it bares mentioning, we check daily.  There is a method for cooking your infused oil on the stovetop but I’ve not tried that.  Our Balm ingredients:

·         ¼ Cup of Beeswax

·         ¼ Cup Dandelion Infused Coconut Oil

·         2 table Spoons of Shea butter

Next up we mix …

1.       Fill a medium sauce pan with water and place on medium heat

2.       Place all ingredients in a mason jar and lightly screw on the lid. 

3.       Place the jar in the medium sauce pan of water watch as the ingredients melt together.  Swirl the ingredients to mix. 

4.       Once fully incorporated together, pour lotion into a small jar or tin for use. 

Voila! Weed no more.  You can harvest those dandelions and have a lovely all natural lotion to boot.  In the summer months we go through lotion quickly so the jar doesn’t have a chance to sour around here.  But it’s a good foot note that your lotions should stay in good condition for the life of the oil and butter.   

 



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The Wasting Nothing Philosophy

Playing, cooking, reading, exploring, loving, laughing, and making a mess with your little one is NEVER a waste of time! It is priority one! It's not just about getting to know your little one. It's about letting your little one get to know you!