Here in Southern Ontario, as with many places that experience the four seasons, we welcome the coming of spring with open arms. The return of spring, also means the return of the plants, trees, migrating animals and the wild edibles and medicinals.
Dandelion is one of these wild edible/ medicinals that I eagerly welcome back. The entire plant is both edible and medicinal.
Today I am going to tell you how we use dandelion flowers to make dandelion flower oil.
Dandelion oil can be used as a fabulous moisturizer for the body and it also works well on achy sore muscles and joints. For dry, chapped hands, rub some oil in and feel instant relief.
To make dandelion oil, find a place to gather the flowers that is away from roads, free of pesticides and chemicals. Pick a nice sunny day or at least wait till the morning dew has evaporated off of the plants and gather the full, non-damaged, healthiest looking blossoms. Please don't harvest more than half the blooms from any one area. Dandelions are an important back-up food supply for bees when other blossoms are scarce.
We dry the blooms in our solar dehydrator for about a day. You can also spread them out on a towel in a sunny window for a day or two. This is to remove excess moisture from the flowers to prevent spoilage in your oil.
After the flowers have dried, place them into a sterile jar. We use a 1 liter mason jar. Fill the jar loosely with flowers, making sure not to pack the flowers in too tight. Next, fill the jar with organic olive oil.. You will see little air bubbles finding their way to the top of the jar. Use a wooden spoon (NOT METAL) to help get air bubbles out of the jar. Too many air bubbles can turn your oil rancid. Keep refilling the jar with oil until you know longer see any air bubbles. Ensure that the flowers are completely submerged in oil.
Now it's time to infuse the oil.
If you have patience, something I sorely lack, you can simply put a lid on the jar and place it in a dark spot at room temp for 4-6 weeks. Who's got time for that? My muscles ache now, not in August!
Alternatively, you can place the mason jar, with the lid removed in a pan of water . Put about 2 inches of water in the pan. Simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Screw lid onto jar and set in a dark, room temp spot for 1-2 weeks. Much quicker!!
Once your oil has infused, you need to strain it. We use a fine mesh sieve to remove all the flower bits. Strain oil into a clean mason jar of whatever size you're using.
If you are going to use a clear jar store the oil in a dark place. Amber coloured jars or bottles make a great storage place for oils, but then you don't get to see the beautiful colour. Good quality olive oil comes in dark jars for a reason, it helps keep the oil stable, were the presence of air and light can encourage the oil to spoil.
I have mentioned to avoid things that could spoil or cause your oil to go rancid a few times, this is something to be aware of. When making an oil sometimes they can go bad and when they do you will know. It is just an awful smell, a smell that makes you understand something has gone wrong. If this happens, don't be discouraged, compost the jar contents and try again.
Now that you have your dandelion oil, use it, share a bottle with friends and family and Enjoy!
Coming Soon...Part 2..Turning Dandelion Oil into a fantastic salve.