Our ancestors learn the importance of using what natured provided for them. When Isaac and Mary Stearns arrived in the Bay Colony in 1630 they thought they had brought enough food supplies to last a year to eighteen months. They soon found out that much of the food had spoiled during the 70 day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. They had no stores or Markets as they called them to purchase or replace their supplies.
Thankfully they made it through the first winter with the help of the friendly Indians. They traded for corn, cornmeal and were shown how to cook them (that is another post). They used other provisions that Mother Nature offered such as tree bark, tree nuts, flora and fauna and the bountiful fish in the rivers and streams. The men would go hunting for wild game: turkeys, partridges, deer and bear for meat. When spring arrived in 1631 they learned how to use the dandelion plant that covered the grassy meadows with their lush green leaves and colorful golden yellow flower.
Dandelions offer not only visual pleasure but medicinal and nutritional value as well. All parts can be used for something, nothing is wasted. Dandelion tea was made from the sweet young leaves and flower steeped in boiling water for three to five minutes. They would drink the tea and eat the leaves. Mary mostly likely dried the roots near the hearth for future use. Dandelion wine was another use for this sweet green that they started to make in their second year in the colony.
Each spring I look forward to drinking my dandelion tea, eating the tender leaves with vinegar, salt, pepper and maybe even a little horseradish for added spice.
Place a bunch of cleaned dandelion plants (I used the leaves and flowers portions,) cover with water and boil for about for minutes. Remove the plants for the after noon meal. Pour the tea into you tankard. Sweeten to taste.
Dandelion Wine is something I have not made. I have provided you with a link to make your own wine.