Doug Elliott: Dandelion, Groundhogs and Poison Ivy

Doug Elliott: Dandelion, Groundhogs and Poison Ivy | Sacred HabitatsStorytelling and education go hand-in-hand. For millennia, storytelling has been an invaluable tool for passing on information, values and wisdom from one generation to the next… and with all of the focus in America on killing dandelions shouldn’t as much energy be placed on the attributes one of the most health-filled plants in the country so folks know what it is they are so crazy about killing. Seriously folks, if the only green foods you ever ate were Dandelions and Stinging Nettles you would be getting far more vitamin and mineral dense than any of the green foods you buy in the store, or farmers market for that matter.

What I love most about Doug Elliott’s storytelling performances is that they are infused with educational material about herbs, wild edibles and nature. His educational programs are so entertaining, packed with stories, anecdotes and lore – for adults and kids!

Doug’s passion for the natural world developed in early childhood roaming the woods and waters around his home. His dad used to say, “That boy knows what’s under every rock between here and town.”

Since humanity’s beginnings our connections with the natural world have defined us and made us who we are. Doug’s stories explore and celebrate the rich diversity of that special human connection to nature. His programs are textured by his use of traditional lore, regional dialects and accents, and enhanced by his soulful harmonica playing.

For many years Doug Elliott earned his living as a traveling herbalist collecting and selling herbs, teas and old-time remedies. Along with healing plants, Elliott searches out old-timers and elders from various cultures. From these bearers of tradition, he has assembled an extensive body of knowledge of the botanical aspects of plants, their history, legends, and lore; their uses in various cultures, medicinal properties, food value, as well as other practical ways we can use wild plants every day.

In 1976 Doug published his first book about the under ground parts of plants. More than 20 years later has been revised, given a new cover, and re-issued by Healing Arts Press as “Wild Roots”, this was the first book authored by Doug Elliot that I purchased over 15 years ago. Take a look at Doug’s books and song CD’s.

Listen to Doug in this delightful video as he shows us some of the ways that we routinely think of dandelion, “lawn enemy number one,” to a welcomed and enjoyed, common extremely nutritious free food…

Doug Elliot’s lively, informative herb and wild plant walks and plant oriented storytelling sessions are a special feature at many herb conferences, botanical gardens, wildflower pilgrimages and other events. Be sure to check his event calendar for a fun and educational filled day!

A Tip Regarding Dandelion Bitterness

I have not tried this yet but a book, “Herbal, The Essential Guide to Herbs for Living” suggests blanching the leaves right on the plant by inverting a plant pot over the plant and covering the drainage holes with stones… “After a few weeks the leaves turn pale green and lose their bitterness.”

Sources for Dandelion Seed + More

Mountain Rose Herbs has organic Dandelion Seed (Taraxacum officinale).

Purveyors of fine herbal products
Baker’s Creek Rare Heirloom Seeds has Italiko Rosso Dandelion, which is a beautiful, bright red stemmed with deep green leaves dandelion. The baby leaves add great tangy flavor to salads, and they are good as a cooked green.

Johnny’s Select Seeds has Dandelion seed, harvest while tender and sweet, before flowering, during the first year.

Johnny’s Select Seed also has Catalogna Special Italian Dandelion Seed which is technically a chicory which looks like dandelion but is less bitter and more peppery, it’s often under the misleading name of “Italian Dandelion.’

Burpee has a flavorful heirloom dandelion from Italy which delivers a complex, bitter yet sweet flavor. Dense rosettes of leaves form quickly, preferring cooler weather. Again, harvest the leaves when the plant is young before it blooms.

Heirloom Seeds has the same varieties of dandelion as above but in an organic version which may be appealing to you.

Horizon Herbs has the common dandelion typically found in lawns, Wild Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

You may also be interested to know about The Dandelion Seed Conference which is the primary fundraiser for The Olympia Free Herbal Clinic, a walk in center, in downtown Olympia, WA. that provides personalized educational consultations and natural remedies at a sliding scale and is a community-based organization whose mission is to encourage holistic health on a personal, ecological, and community level.

What do you think… let’s hear from you! Have you or will you try dandelion this spring? Do you have any favorite recipes or tips to share? Please post a comment below and let us know.Transparency & Appreciation: I want all of my readers to know that I do provide links on this blog to other businesses that sell products that I use and love, I will never post a link to anything that is inconsistent with my ideology.
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