Whether you see dandelions as lawn invaders or wildflowers, I?m sure that by now you?ve heard they are a nutritious superfood. What you may not know is how beneficial they are for your skin. I always include dandelions as one of . And what?s even better? You can find them just about anywhere!
I have a long history of changing my mind about dandelions. When I was a child, I love picking them and blowing the seeds into the wind. As a new homeowner, I frowned upon the neighbors with yards full of those same bursting seed heads that I just knew we?re going to come over to my yard uninvited. But when I started studying the medicinal benefits of plants, I started to appreciate these happy yellow flowers with the serrated leaves that are packed with a nutritive punch and medicinal properties.
First off let?s identify a dandelion knowing that there are a few look-alikes out there. A dandelion will have a rosette of leaves then have pointy tooth edges the point downwards, almost like a series of arrowheads, or perhaps even lions teeth (which, by the way, is how the name dandelion is derived from the French, ?Dent de lion.?). If the plant you?re looking at has rounded leaves and it?s not a dandelion.
The next thing you?re looking for is one single flower stock rising above the leaves. Multiple flower stalks? That?s a look alike.
And to be triple sure, snap the stem and look for the white, milky sap. The sap is a natural latex, so be aware if you have a latex allergy not to touch the sap. If you don?t have a latex allergy then the sap is used as a treatment to dissolve warts.
Dandelion Herbal Benefits
The young leaves are delicious in salads and quite nutritious. The root makes a great anti-inflammatory tea or a rich roasted dandelion root coffee. And the flowers are edible in salads, fritters, or tea. You can read more about the different ways to eat dandelion as a superfood in this post:
But today we?re going to talk a little bit more about the flowers for infusing herbal oil to use in skin care projects. The flowers are full of antioxidants and ingredients that sooth and benefit the skin. They also help to repair dry skin and act as an anti-inflammatory.
In most cases I prefer to . And you can certainly use to make a faster version of this dandelion flower oil. For today I?ll show you the cold infusion method.
Dandelion Flower Herbal Oil Cold Infusion Instructions
Harvesting Dandelion Flowers
You don?t need the entire plant, just the flowers. Pop off their heads in the early morning at a time of year when they are plentiful and in full bloom. Harvest them from a trusted location that you know has not been sprayed, is subject to vehicle pollution, irregularly visited by dogs. You don?t want any of those things infusing into your oil as well! Yuck.
Drying Dandelion Flowers
Spread the blossoms out on a cookie sheet or drying rack out of the direct sunlight. Leave them for at least 3-5 days to give them a chance to dry out (and also give the ants a chance to relocate!). You can also use a dehydrator or oven on low to speed up the process. The blossoms will shrink quite a bit, so collect at least three times what you think you might need, but also being sure to not harvest more than 30% of the flowers in the patch, unless they are from your own garden.
When the flowers have dried pack them into a glass jar. Use a spoon to press them down in the jar to and lightly compact them. Keep filling the jar and pressing down the flowers until the jar is filled all the way to the top.
For this cold infusion you can use olive oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, or really any skin care oil that you want to use in your products. Pour the oil into the jar over the flowers. Use the spoon to push the flowers down and release some of the air bubbles allowing the oil to saturate into all the gaps. Fill the jar to the top ensuring that all the flower blossoms are covered in oil.
Set the oil in a dark place for 4-6 weeks to infuse, after which you can strain out the dandelion flowers and use the oil in your natural skin care recipes like this
Skin Care Recipes from your Home Apothecary
Once you have some yummy dandelion flower herbal oil ready, you will need some recipes! Here are two of my recent books filled with ideas for how to use your garden-grown goodness to make your skin naturally beautiful.
You Can?t Buy THESE at the Grocery Store! Learn about some unique edible fruit plants that grow well in the home garden, but are not often available in grocery store. These seasonal sweet treats go beyond standard apples, oranges, and strawberries with unique colours, attractive plants, a variety of sizes, and out of this world flavour.
Gardeners know good food because they grow it and taste it freshly harvested (don?t even get me started on the grocery store tomatoes and strawberries available in Vancouver in February!) When you give the plants love and attention for many weeks, months, or years, it?s worth that sweet reward of the freshest flavor that can?t be found at the grocery. In my home garden, I generally look for unique edible plants to grow and purchase the standard fare items at the store or farmers market. I love to take guests on a taste tour of the garden, handing them unique edible fruit that can?t be bought. Most of all, these sweet treats are fun to grow for the aesthetics and flavours that will sweeten up any home garden.
Unique Edible Fruit Varieties
Here are a few examples of unique edible fruit plants that you need to grow at home, just to taste the sweet rarity of each bite.
Ground Cherries (Physalis pubescens)
Ground cherries top this list of unique edible fruit plants because they have a special place in my garden winds tiverton series 3 gazebo replacement canopy riplock 350_700048 because of how fun they are to harvest.
Also known as golden berries or cape gooseberries, these tomato-family relatives grow in their own packaging. Paper lanterns grow on bushy 2? plants that thrive in full sun. I love these in a children?s garden because when the ground cherries are ripe, the paper lantern will fall to the ground. Then, they can be collected from around the base of the plant with leisure, as they will stay unharmed until the paper starts to decompose, about 3 weeks after they fall. Kids can go on a ground cherry hunt and they love unwrapping the rich, golden cherries with a sweet pineapple-flavoured taste. Adults love them too, if they can get any!
Here is a fun video on how to use ground cherries from my friend Nikki Jabbour!
Pink Blueberry (Vaccinium ?Pink Lemonade?)
Blueberries are considered a superfood because of their anthocyanin pigment which is a dietary antioxidant. So why would anyone grow pink blueberries? I grow them for four reasons: the ornamental plants, the tart lemonade flavour, the later harvest time, and well, you can?t buy them in stores!
Pink blueberries were developed by the USDA in the 1970?s but have only been available to home gardeners for about 10 years. They grow on attractive shrubs with silvery-green leaves that look much more decorative in the summer garden. They can tolerate more shade although they will produce fewer berries than in full sun. And the cedar waxwings that peck away at my blue blueberries get tricked into thinking . Pink blueberries are fully pink when ripe. Just like blue blueberries, they can be sour if they have any white on them. I like them because the fruit are tart and sweet, reminiscent of their ?Pink Lemonade? moniker.
Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)
Oregon grape is a native plant in my neck of the woods (British Columbia, Washington, Oregon), making it a very popular and easy woodland garden edible. The leaves are deep green and red, evergreen, and spiky like holly. The flowers are showy and yellow, and the fruit is ornamental in big clusters with a blue colour and a a dusty bloom.
Oregon grape is often used as a medicinal plant (root) and dye (berries). The fruit are not grapes at all and are very, very sour. Very sour. Even so, they are worth growing and harvesting. Like other sour fruit, when you add some sugar, the flavours really come out. I often see Oregon grape jam and wine at the farmers market which has a grape / floral flavour that is intense and delightful. Here is my best tip for Oregon grape: harvest the berries wearing gloves so that you don?t stain your fingers!
Red Huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium)
Another attractive berry plant that is native to the westcoast of North America is the red huckleberry. It?s a deciduous woodland shrub that does well in shade, and produces a large number of tiny red tart berries that are jam-packed with pectin. I often use these as a natural pectin source when making jam with multiple fruit. They are lovely for fresh eating and the tall, airy, tree-like plants look like delicate Japanese maples in shape, with much less decorative leaves. My mother-in-law tells me that they make a wonderful pie, but she was only able to harvest enough from her 13-ft tall shrub to make one pie ever. The tree produces enough for a few pies a year but as you can imagine, it can be quite the undertaking to get enough of the 6mm (1/4?) diameter fruit to make just one pie!
Alpine Strawberries (Fragaria vesca)
I grow both yellow/white and red alpine strawberries which are sometimes called wild strawberries. Alpines strawberries pack all the sweet punch of a strawberry on a smaller, less bloated berry. Semi-evergreen plants grow berries all summer that are prized by chefs and foodies. The plants don?t have runners but the clumps are easily divided and they also easy to start from seed.
The berries really don?t store well, so they are best eaten straight from the garden or within a few days after harvest. You can certainly preserve them as well into jam, if you have any left. The flavour is exceptional, far better than any strawberry you?ve ever had! White alpine strawberries?which are more pale yellow when ripe?also taste divine with a hint of pineapple. The white berries can be a great way to increase the berries you get to eat vs. the berries that the birds get to eat. Similar to pink blueberries, white alpine strawberries resemble an unripe version of the traditional fruit. They have all of the flavor but a bit less visual pizzazz so they are a great choice for gardening with wild birds.
Hardy Cocktail Kiwis (Actinidia arguta)
Kiwi ?Issai? is a hardy perennial kiwi with exceptionally sweet fruit that are grape-sized, not fuzzy, and with an edible skin . This vine produces many virtually-hairless, super-sweet mini snacking kiwis. These hail from Siberia so you don?t need tropical temperatures. In fact, they are hardy down to -35?/-31?F. This kiwi is self fertile, so you can grow it in a smaller garden where there is only room for one plant.
Heirloom Figs (Ficus carica)
Fresh figs don?t transport well, so unless you have fig trees growing in your garden, you may only have access to Fig Newtons throughout the year. Dried figs are a great way to preserve a harvest that ripens all at the same time, but the flavor is nothing like a fresh fig. A ripe fig, warm from the sun, tastes like fruit soaked in honey with the texture of passion fruit dotted with tiny, crunchy seeds. Even if you have been lucky enough to try a fresh Black Mission, Brown Turkey, or other common variety when they are in season, there many more heirloom varieties in a range of size, taste, and color that must be tried. Read all about .
Tayberry (Rubus fruticosus x idaeus)
Tayberries are a cross between raspberries and blackberries with a sweet flavour when they are finally ripe (and quite sour when they look like they should be ready but aren?t). They ripen later than most blackberries and raspberries and need to be a bit squishy to not cause you to pucker up when eaten. They need a good tug to get them off the vine, so even though they are larger and (in my opinion) tastier than bath blackberries or raspberries, they can?t been machine harvested. This means commercial growers give them a pass and leave them for .
Golden Raspberry (Rubus idaeus ?Fall Gold,? ?Anne,? ?Goldie,? etc)
I grow golden raspberries in my garden that are everbearing but they seem to produce two bumper crops in the season: one in early summer just before the red raspberries and then again in the late summer/early fall. It not unusual for me to have fresh berries to pick in October. The flavour is similar to red raspberries but sweeter and milder with no tartness at all. Growing instructions are the same as red raspberry. They are delicious, , and you can?t get them at the grocery.
Sea Buckthorn Berry (Hippophae rhamnoides)
Seaberries or Sea Buckthorns grow on unruly bushes that produce a mass of orange berries high in vitamins, oils, and antioxidants. The shrubs are large, wild, and heavy producers but they are especially wonderful nitrogen fixers in the garden that grow well in cool climates. These are prized in skin care recipes, plus they make a yummy juice or jelly. These are on my list to include in the garden this year so I?ll keep you updated with how they produce.
Honeyberry (Lonicera caerulea)
Honeyberries are related to honeysuckle and the oblong, blue fruit taste like a blackberry-cherry-grape combination. Even though I haven?t grown these, I often see them for sale at my local garden center and they are on my list to try out one day when I have more space.
Goumi Berry (Elaeagnus multiflora)
Goumi berries are a nutritious, red fruit speckled with silver and gold on an attractive shrub prized for its dark-green foliage. The shrubs are easy to grow, and get quite large so make sure you have the space available. They certainly aren?t picky where they grow, and can thrive in just about any soil. They are hardy in cold climates as well so worth a look. The berries are pretty but they have a large seed in the middle like a cherry pit which makes them a bit harder to work with. The berries are quite sour and a bit bitter/chalky, but they do make a good pie or jam. They have been likened to sour cherries or rhubarb, but I think they taste like more sour red huckleberries.
Miracle Fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum)
Speaking of unique edible fruit plants, what?s more unique than a fruit that changes how other foods taste? Miracle fruit is the berry from the tropical Synsepalum dulcificum shrub that miraculously changes the flavor of the things you eat afterwards. It?s a Zone 10 plant so in cool climates it must be grown indoors or in a heated greenhouse. The berries are small seeds covered by a thin, sweet covering that contains a glycoprotein called miraculin, which binds to the tongue?s taste buds when the fruit is consumed. Everything you eat for the next 30 minutes to 2 hours will taste much sweeter. Sour, bitter, and acidic foods like lemons, beer, and vinegar taste like candy, soda, and cookies. If it can make my kid eat broccoli, it might just be the most prized houseplant I ever grow!
What unique fruit do you grow in your garden? Leave them in the comments as I would love to find some more!
More Unique Edible Plants to Love
Heat-loving vegetables need warm soil in order to germinate, which means starting them indoors with a heat mat and monitoring soil temperature. Follow these tips and you?ll be growing mighty peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants in no time!
Tips for Starting Seeds for Heat-Loving Vegetables like Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplants
Heat lovers like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants like to be started indoors between four to six weeks before the last date of frost. Starting seeds indoors gives them a jump-start on the growing season and ensures that your plants will have lots of time to produce fruit before it gets chilly outside again.
Soil temperature for Solanaceous vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant) is critical for seed germination. Solanaceous crops need warmer soil to germinate, so give them a to keep them cozy. For example, I grow many of my tomato seedlings on heat mats at 75?F with plenty of light for 4 ? 5 weeks. In last week before I move them outdoors, I reduce the temperature to 60 ? 65?F to toughen plants for transplanting.
I use for starting my seeds (and it?s been going strong now for many years!)
Temperatures vary by seed type and variety, so be sure to check the packaging for specific instructions and use a soil thermometer to monitor soil temperature if you are experiencing difficulty in germination.
Start seeds in homemade newspaper pots set in a plastic nursery tray or even a plastic salad box. Newspaper pots can be made by wrapping 5? strips of newspaper around a wooden pot maker or a household item like a glass or a can. Wrap the paper strip around the form, leaving 1? of paper overhanging the bottom. Crimp and fold the overhanging paper so that it tucks into itself and makes a pot that holds its shape when you remove the form. Use a bit of tape to hold it if necessary.
Fill each of the paper pots with seed-starting mix, a light, disease-free soil mix made specifically for seed starting. Don?t use garden soil that can have many fungi, bacteria and critters that can attack little seedlings.
- Plant each pot with 3 seeds, cover with soil, and water well. Keep pots moist until seeds germinate and the little green sprouts come up. Sadly, you will have to choose only one strong seedling per pot to keep by cutting (not pulling) the others with clean scissors.
- Keep your seedling in bright sunlight until it gets two to three true leaves (the plant will initially have two ?seed? leaves which are rounded, then grow the ?true? leaves which look quite different), then transplant the whole pot, newspaper and all, into a larger plastic nursery pot filled with a container mix soil.
- Grow your plant into a teenager in this pot and when it?s warm enough (as determined on your seed packet) you can move it outside.
Planting Heat-Lovers in the Garden
When the seedlings are ready to be planted in the garden, harden them off by taking them outside in the shade and gradually getting them used to the outdoors for longer each day. On the last few days, set the pots in the garden where they will be growing, and then plant them in the soil after a week.
More on Seed Starting in
Get Growing! Expert Seed-Starting for the DIY Gardener contains everything you need to know about starting seeds both indoors and outdoors, with helpful advice every step of the way, from buying your seeds to germination to caring for your plants as they reach full maturity. You?ll see how to grow all sorts of different plants from seed, including vegetables, both annual and perennial flowers, and even lawn. Plus, there are a ton of DIY projects that make it easy to start a garden from seed anywhere. Get the book instantly .30a044, 4ee783, 8917ca, ad2342, c1d4da, e2e623, Car and auto body kits, Lcd Display Treadmill, 101fitness, Cross Trainers&elliptical Machines, Best Automotive Diagnostic Scanner, indoor cycling rowing, sitemap