Who can’t forget when as a child you would pick those pretty little yellow flowers growing in the grass to bring to mommy, or picking the puff balls and blowing them to watch them scatter. It wasn’t until our later years that we learned they were dandelions, much dreaded by people who gave attention to their lawns.

This year, in particular, Riverside was inundated with the pretty little yellow plant whose name comes from the French meaning “lion’s tooth.”  However, the much-maligned plant has many redeeming qualities you may not be aware of. 

Every part of the dandelion is edible and is actually part of the lettuce family. It is known to help detoxify the liver, good for blood pressure, and — here’s the most important one – they slow down the aging process. Makes you want to go out and eat a field of them, doesn’t it? 

It is the young leaves that make the best salads, because as they mature the leaves become bitter. I can remember my mother out picking the leaves for us to eat. Luckily I liked them; I should have had more.

If a salad doesn’t suit you, how about a cup of dandelion tea, or, better yet, how about some dandelion wine? It is not as hard as you imagine and numerous recipes can be found online. Just think of how you can impress your friends as you sit around the fire pit.

Face it, we know dandelions are not going to go away because they can’t be treated in a way that is safe. So we can embrace the lowly dandelion or keep complaining about them. 

Their season is not long so you can endure it. I have joked that we should have a dandelion festival here in Riverside, but maybe it isn’t so funny. We are known for many things, and this could just add to our list of what makes Riverside special.

RAW deal: Coming up is Riverside Arts Weekend, and we’re glad to have it back in a modified version. Coming to see the special exhibit at the train station on June 12 and 13 be Mike and Sue West who, along with their friend, the late Moose Moravec, started the original art fair in Riverside in the 1960s. It was popular and ran for a number of years. 

Hopefully, next week I will have some comments for you from the Wests and how the art fair has progressed from the ’60s to the turn of the new century.