LillyShayStyle is defending the virtue of Dandelions today. And while I don't particularly want them taking over my yard, I do believe their honor is worth defending. So, in support of Lilly, and all those happy yellow flowers, here's something useful to do with dandelions.
Dandelion infusions have been used for ages to help ease muscle aches and joint pain. If you've had an extra tough workout at the gym, spent to much time hunched over doing yard work, or if picking up that 2yo 100 times a day is getting to you, try this little preparation. It's a fun project to do with the kiddos and it would be a great home made gift for an exercise buff or an arthritic grandma -- or an arthritic 'ma' like me, for that matter! Check it out.
Here's what you need:
- a clean wide-mouthed jar (like a mason jar)
- a good supply of dandelions (really, a roadside field is better than a yard - since the roadsides are rarely treated with bug or weed killers)
- Olive or Canola oil (and yes, that's the olive oil and canola oil you use in your day to day cooking -- straight from the grocery, nothing fancy about it.)
- 1 shot of vodka (optional, but adding it will definitely keep unwanted things from growing in your infusion.)
- a scrap of cheese cloth or some other fabric suitable for straining
- rubber band
Here's what you do:
- Fill your jar half full with dandelion flowers - make sure the flowers are fresh. You don't want any that are turning brown or starting to go to seed. You'll be able to spot the good ones - just look for the bees. Oh yeah, and let the bee finish his job before picking the flower - it's the polite thing to do.
- After you've picked all your flowers, fill the jar almost all the way to the top with the oil of your choice. (Adding a sprig of lavender to the mix will give your finished product a really nice aroma.)
- Add the shot of vodka if you want to ensure no molds start to grow (which they shouldn't if your flowers aren't wet - molds don't grow in oil.)
- Cover your jar with the scrap of cloth and secure it with the rubber band
- Set your jar in a warm sunny spot -- outdoors or indoors
- Now here's the hard part. Wait. Wait, and wait, and wait. About 3 weeks ought to do it. By then, the dandelions will have turned brown.
- While you're waiting, check out LillyShayStyle's blog, and Quick5pnt0's Flikr site (That's his incredible dandelion photo. I sure hope he doesn't mind that I swiped it -- I'm Flikr-ignorant and couldn't find a way to contact him through his page -- if anyone knows how, please educate me. I feel like a thief, but the picture was just too beautiful to pass on. His pictures of the beach make me so homesick I want to cry.)
- Strain the oil into a clean bottle. Store in a dark place or preferably in the refrigerator. Refrigerating it should give it an indefinite shelf life. Something to remember though, olive oil solidifies when it gets cold. That's why my choice would be canola oil. If you're into the whole homemade massage oil thing and you have almond or grapeseed oil hanging around the house, these are excellent options as well.
- You're ready to go! Just massage a little into your achy parts and let those "weeds" do their work.
Enjoy! Let me know if you take on this little project. If you send me pictures, I'll post them next month -- maybe include a giveaway. Tease, tease!