“I guess the most unusual item was the dandelion salad. In the fall, about October when things died down, we would get dandelion roots and put them in a box that had a little soil in the bottom so the roots could adhere. Then we’d go out in the woods and pull the leaves aside and get that soft rich wood pummy soil and put about eight to ten inches of that over the top of those roots, and put that box down in the cellar in a dark place. About a month before Christmas, we’d bring that box out and put it in a nice warm sunny window and begin watering those roots, and they’d shoot up through that pummy soil. The reason for having it so deep is that you want the dandelion leaves to be as long as you can get them. They come up yellow until they get out of the soil to the light, and then they turn green, but what you want mostly is those yellow leaves, and the longer they are, the more tender they are. We liked them in six- to eight-inch yellow spikes with little tips of green on top.
To prepare them for the meal, we would wash those leaves and chop them in bite sizes and put them in our bowl, and then we took a half cup of apple cider vinegar, a half cup of water, a good tablespoon of sugar, a teaspoon of salt, and we’d mix that all thoroughly so that the salt and the sugar was all melted. Then we got about three spoonfuls of good ham grease from where we’d fried out our ham, and we took this liquid and poured it all in our hot skillet. While it was still hot, we poured it over the dandelions. If we had some green onions, we especially liked to put a few of them in there. And that made a salad that we thought was great!
If we didn’t pull the whole plant up to get the leaves, we’d let the roots stay in that box and keep sprouting them and we’d have several messes after Christmas. They’ll come up in a second and a third time.”
—Lyndall “Granny” Toothman – “A Foxfire Christmas”
Growing dandelions for Christmas! Have you ever heard the beat! Makes me want to be industrious and try it myself next year.