[Tweeters] Don't Forget To Eat The Flowers

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sat Mar 21 09:08:32 PDT 2015

As you run around out there chasing birds, don't forget to stop once and awhile to eat the flowers.

Well, not all of them, but some are pretty good. I saw some good ones out at Fort Worden, here in Port Townsend the other day. First was that common lawn weed, the Dandelion, growing in the uppermost sand on the beach by the Marine Science Center. Do the public a service, and go down there and eat the things before they spread!
I would have done it myself, but I share cooking quarters with my dietary querulous parents. They don't appreciate " weird food" in their home. In my life , I have managed to crawl somewhat away from the family tree of english cooking. On a bit of a food adventure. I think some wag once proposed that the reason for the spread of the British Empire, was the search for better food.
Well, anyway, the humble Dandelion is a super nutritional plant - I posted about it once before. You can read up on all the details yourself - of root , leaf, and flower, - but what I really want to eat again (I'll have to do it next time in Everett) are the flowers. Flaming with beta-carotene (known in Canada as Vitamin eh?) they are real good fur ya. The flowers are not very strong tasting (the leaves, yes). My first experiment with eating the flowers, was mixing them in tempura batter and frying them as fritters. Maybe it's just their color, but mixing them with cornmeal , in some creative way, seems like a good idea.
I recently read (a few minutes ago), that beta-carotine may slow cognitive degeneration. Hey, when you're 80 and can't recognize a Towhee, you don't wanna hear your fellow birders chortle "We told him to eat those Dandelion flowers, but he just wouldn't listen!". Hey, I'm just trying to help.
If being a human weedeater, doesn't appeal to you, how about Big-leaf Maple flowers? A bit early this year with our warm winter ,the yellow -green hanging flowers were out here at Fort Worden. If they're past in your neck of the woods, you can try heading up into the hill elevations to try 'em. Not an endangered species for sure. Hey, just because something is technically edible, don't mean it tastes very good, but even raw, tender new maple flowers are OK . Again, my limited experiments with cooking this plant, were dipping the whole flowers in batter, and frying it. I'm gonna try some new ideas this year.
Health tips: don't gather Dandelions from areas of dubious provenance- like herbicide infected areas. And for folks with tree pollen allergies , maybe eating Maple flowers could be a problem.
Often, when viewing the blooming maples, I think of ol' John James Audubon, and his paintings- I've always enjoyed his pairing of plant and bird. I just keep thinking that if Audubon had ever made it out to the Northwest, a perfect pairing of bird and plant would be an Orange-crowned Warbler in a blooming Big-leaf Maple.It's all about the color. Just saying'.
Jeff Gibsoneats flowersPort Townsend Wa

More information about the Tweeters mailing list