My neighbor is out digging dandelion greens this week in preparation of her traditional Maundy Thursday dinner. A Pennsylvania Dutch(German) tradition…the bitter greens are served with a hot bacon dressing and small boiled potatoes.
According to http://www.Catholicculture.org :
It was a custom that greens should be eaten on Holy Thursday(Jewish meal of bitter herbs) and the day is sometimes called Green Thursday. The Pennsylvania Dutch eat spinach or dandelion greens on Holy Thursday to prevent spring illness, an ancient belief.
In Jewish Passover, the bitter herbs are called Maror and consist of 5 bitter herbs. The most common ones are: horseradish, endive, chicory, sow thistle, and lettuce. (from http://www.herbs.lovetoknow.com) The sow thistle has a lovely yellow flower that resembles the dandelion and has a hollow stem.
Below is a recipe for Dandelion greens with hot bacon dressing. It is taken from my mother’s favorite cookbook…The US Regional Cookbook by Ruth Berolzheimer, 1947.
Dandelion Greens with Hot Bacon Dressing
4 slices of bacon
1/2 cup vinegar
Dandelion greens(or chicory, spinach, endive)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the bacon into small pieces. Fry and drain on paper. Add vinegar to the fat and bring to a boil. Cut the greens in pieces convenient for eating. Add onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour the hot vinegar mixture thoroughly so all will be well seasoned. Sprinkle top with crisp bacon and serve at once. Serves 4.
Another view on dandelions…my godmother(my Aunt Gertrude) would make Dandelion wine( she also made several different cordials during the summer months…her raspberry cordial was exquisite!). At every special occasion(and sometimes on a very trying day), she would bring out her small cordial glasses and her wine/cordial in her special cut glass bottles. There was almost a sense of reverence and deep appreciation for this gift. The Dandelion wine was a lovely shade of light green.
Here is her recipe for Dandelion Wine:
Makes one gallon
2 quarts of dandelion blossoms packed lightly
4 quarts of boiling water
3 oranges/lemon rind and all
Let it stand for 3 days and then boil for 15 minutes. Strain it and to each quart of juice, add one pound of sugar. While lukewarm, put in 2 Tablespoons of yeast and let it stand 15 days. At this point, strain and bottle. This is an old-fashioned German recipe and very strong and excellent after the first year.
My family never had any traditions regarding dandelions but we appreciated and enjoyed tasting other peoples’ traditions.
til next time…Eva