It's week three in Elizabeth Joy's Wildflowers In Winter series. This week's theme is "Literary Wildflowers." When wildflowers are presented in fictional stories, many times it is in a romantic vein. Picture the lover's bouquet gathered during a walk through the woods. Or a child clutching a bunch of dandelions and presenting them to Mommy. I've had my heart-melting share of both.
But wildflowers turn up in unexpected ways, too. A couple of years ago, my good friend Marsha gave me a book entitled Meet Me in the Meadow: Finding God in the Wildflowers, written by Deborah Hedstrom-Page. She knew I would love reading the facts and history of many of the common natives we encounter as we walk through the woods we call "Oklahoma" or on the many other treks where geocaching takes us. Better yet is seeing our Creator's hand in each one of the wildflowers highlighted in this book.
Take those dandelions, for instance. Often the black sheep of the wildflower family, we can see little good in them except that they herald the beginning of summer when we see them blooming along the roadsides. We take great measures to eradicate them from our lawns. But as we read in I Corinthians 1:27-29:
But God chose the foolish things of this world . . . and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him.
God's got a purpose for everything and everyone, no matter what value we give them.
The dandelion is edible and more nutritious than most green vegetables. It's high in magnesium, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. You can make jelly from its flowers, tea from its roots and wine from its greens. It has medicinal value, too. The early settlers and Native Americans used it as a laxative and diuretic.
And you thought it was just a weed.
1 quart fresh, bright dandelion flowers
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5½ cups sugar
1 package (1¾ oz.) powdered pectin
Paraffin to seal
Using an enamel or stainless steel pan, boil the dandelions in two quarts of water for 3-5 minutes; cool and strain, pressing the liquid out of the flowers gently. Measure 3 cups of the liquid; add lemon juice and pectin. Put into a deep jelly kettle and bring to a boil. Add sugar and stir to mix well. Stir and boil for 2½ minutes or until the mixture sheets from a wooden spoon. Pour into jelly glasses and seal with melted paraffin when cool.
Information about the dandelion presented here, including recipe, is from Meet Me in the Meadow: Finding God in the Wildflowers.