Queen Ann’s Lace White Chocolate

I’m really enjoying foraging for  yummy things to eat.  Like dandelion leaves and day-lily buds.  I look at the world around me very differently now.  Riding down the road in the car I see edible flowers, greens, and berries everywhere.  I also see a lot of plants that I don’t know but wonder what they are and if I can eat them.

Queen Ann’s lace is a flowering weed.  It is related to the carrot and is also known as wild carrot.  It is edible.  It goes especially well with white chocolate.

DSCN7523

I melted a bar of white chocolate and brushed it with a pastry brush onto wax paper on a baking sheet.  I brushed a very thin layer in one direction then another very thin layer in another direction and so on.  I did about 10 layers in various directions.  Then I took some Queen Ann’s lace blossoms and tore off the very tips and laid them on the sheet of chocolate.  It was a little tedious to lay out each little flower but it smelled really good.  Then I took the rest of the chocolate and put it in a snack bag with a tiny corner cut off as a makeshift pastry bag.  I drizzled the rest of the chocolate on the top of the flowers, not covering them completely.  Then I let it solidify, broke it up, and ate it!

DSCN8048_2

It tasted good, but the flower taste wasn’t quite strong enough.  I might try a denser layer of flowers to add more of their taste to it.  But overall it was surprisingly yummy.  Definitely very delicate and an adult taste, kids probably wouldn’t enjoy it.  But a very classy finish to a meal.  Maybe even a foraged meal!

Advertisements

Is it Really a Dandelion?

If you plan on eating any part of dandelions from your yard (or anywhere else for that matter) make sure you know which bright yellow flowers are actually dandelions.  There are a few other common plants that look similar to dandelions.  The key to telling the difference is that dandelion plants never branch off.  There is only one flower coming straight up one stem for each plant.  Some of the similar plants have multiple branches with multiple flowers.  Like so:

DSCN7801

Another way to tell the difference is that some of the plants that look like dandelions have tiny hairs on the stem, dandelions have smooth stems.

One more difference is that dandelion leaves form what is called a basal rosette.  Basically they have one layer of leaves that fan out around the central stem at ground level.  Similar to the way most kids draw flowers.  The imposters have multiple layers of leaves.  So for dandelions, look for smooth simplicity, one stem one layer of leaves and no hairs.

DSCN7279

Don’t fear the dandelion imposters too much though, they are not poisonous or toxic to humans.  In fact they are technically edible, they might just not taste as good.

Lots of Lilies

Apparently there are more lilies than the one I found the other day and already dealt with.

DSCN7468 DSCN7470

I think clearing them out it going to be a larger scale effort than previously thought.  There’s a whole are of our side yard that is majorly overgrown and we’d like to be able to use.  The hero wants to clear it out and start from scratch.  There were some daffodils that we discovered when they bloomed earlier this spring, tons of thick honeysuckle, and apparently lilies.  I joked about the fact that we need to go ahead and get goats so they can clear it out and the hero said, “we can rent goats.”  Well we need to do something at least about the lilies.

Death Lily

If not made obvious by my writing about the pavlovinator, I love cats.  I love all animals, but cats especially.  This made the discovery of a bright orange lily growing in our yard kind of disturbing.

DSCN7319

Of course it closed before I got a picture.

For those of you who don’t know, all members of the lily family are extremely toxic to cats.  The flower is the most toxic but all parts of the plant, including the pollen are also.  Ingestion of any part can be fatal to cats.  Even a small amount is dangerous.  If you know there is lily pollen on your cat, be sure to wash it off thoroughly as the could ingest it when grooming themselves.  If you see a cat eating a lily, even just a small amount, take them immediately to a veterinarian.  There is effective treatment but only if they are treated within the first 18 hours of ingesting the lily.  After that the prospects are more grim.

If you didn’t see them eating it but suspect they might have, take them to a vet.  Early symptoms of lily toxicity include vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, tremors, and seizures.  Kidney failure and death follow if untreated.

Please, help us protect the cats that we so love as part of our families and handle lilies like you would other poisons.  After taking this photo I pulled the lily plant and composted it in our compost that is surrounded by chicken wire.  We have some outdoor neighborhood cats that I quite enjoy seeing curled up on the rocking chairs on our porch.  I would hate for anything to happen to them, or worse, the pavlovinator.

My suggestion is to grow either a pet grass or catnip (depending on how much your cat likes catnip), feed them healthy pet food and the occasional healthy pet treat.  Don’t grow lilies or buy floral arrangements including them unless you are 100% sure your cat and other outdoor possibly stray cats cannot get to them.  Also consider your disposal, if you compost (and you should) make sure you either toss lilies or compost them somewhere no cats can get to like an enclosed composter.

And because we’re on the subject of cats, spay and neuter all your pets and be sure to adopt from shelters and not animals that were bred at so-called ‘puppy mills’.

Dandelion Smoothie

I know most people don’t really care for dandelions.  They’re a weed right?  In my opinion any plant that doesn’t have a use is a weed.  Like grass.  But that’s for another post.

I have heard about many uses for dandelion, the root can be roasted like coffee, the sap can be used as a glue, and there are medicinal uses for the flower.

The leaves can also be used.  They can be eaten just like salad greens.  Now, I’m not a fan of straight salad, maybe it was too much bland iceberg in my youth, but I still want to get the nutrients from the greens.  So my solution is to put them in smoothies.  I’ve done this already with a variety of lettuce, spinach, cilantro, and celery greens.  But this was the first time with dandelion.

I picked some leaves off a plant in the yard.  I made sure to only get the greenest and avoid any with obvious rot or bug holes.  I washed the leaves well in the sink and patted them dry.  Remember when picking the leaves, the sap can be used as glue, so it can get a little sticky.

DSCN7309

I made this smoothie with a variety of fruit, almond milk, and the dandelion greens.  It was yummy.  If you’ve never had greens in a smoothie, you may want to ease into it.  Start with just a little and slowly add more as you get used to the taste.  Also consider using stronger flavored fruits to help ‘hide’ the taste.  This is the recipe I used, but feel free to experiment with different fruits, different greens, and different liquids.  Just keep in mind my quick list of healthy smoothie tips.

Dandelion Smoothie

1 Banana

About 5 large frozen strawberries

About half of an avocado that I had frozen earlier

A few small pieces of pineapple

A splash of almond milk

Dandelion greens to taste

Blend

Enjoy

DSCN7316