Spring is here! Finally!
Flowers are blooming throughout Upper Milford Township. I see the crocuses and the daffodils with their beautiful colors, as well as the tulips making their way up out of the ground.
Another thing that marks the beginning of spring is dandelion. Okay, stop the moaning and groaning!! You are all picturing those little yellow flowers that turn into gray fuzzies kids love to blow into the air. Right?!
But remember, Upper Milford is in Pennsylvania Dutch country. And here we eat the green leaves (before the flowers arrive on the plant) in a salad.
I heard that – yyyuck!!
Actually, if made right, it is quite tasty.
The day before you would like to eat this dish, you’ll need to do some work, however. A sharp knife and a bowl are required. Then, simply walk throughout your yard (be sure no chemicals have been sprayed on the grass) and look closely for the dandelion. (Without the flowers blooming, they are sometimes hard to spot). When you find one, dig the plant out and put it into your bowl. It is very important to only the use young, tender plants. Older plants with the buds on tend to be bitter.
After you have the desired amount of dandelion, it is time to wash it. I just dump it into my dishpan and cover it with cold water. You’ll need to remove the pieces of grass and dirt, and cut off the roots from the plants, then place it into another bowl. Cover the dandelion with water and rinse again. This may have to be done several times to get the dirt out. Refrigerate the dandelion until ready to use it.
My grandmother, Alice Siegfried, who lived in Upper Milford before her death, would put some chopped onion and chopped hard cooked eggs in the dandelion salad, along with some fried bacon. (I remember us grandkids would always snitch the eggs and bacon when she wasn’t looking!)
Then, the salad was topped with freshly-made bacon dressing. Into the drippings from the fried bacon, she would add a raw egg, two tablespoons of both sugar and apple cider vinegar, one tablespoon of flour and 1 ½ cups of water. She would bring that to a boil, let it thicken, cool it a bit, then pour it over the salad for us to eat while still nice and warm.
I still follow her instructions and use her recipe for making the dandelion with hot bacon dressing.
Now most Pennylvania Dutch will tell you the “correct” way to eat it, is on top of either boiled potatoes or mashed potatoes, whatever your preference. It is a staple at most Easter dinners in the area, along with the ham and potato filling.
Du mooscht mul pissabet mit sidaschpeck bree schmocka, no datsch du falicht pissabet Gleicha. (Try some dandelion with bacon dressing, you might like it.)