Spring Tonic

Dandelions are is a great spring tonic. They are known for getting the lymph and bowels moving, stimulating the liver, releasing excess fluid, and lowering cholesterol.

They are traditionally eaten in the spring to clean out the sludge of winter.

Unfortunately, dandelions are very bitter—too bitter for me to enjoy as a steamed vegetable. So instead I turn them into a tonic.

It’s a simple project. I steep fresh dandelion leaves in vinegar for six weeks to create a tonic with all the goodness and none of the bitterness.

Dandelion leaves are high in calcium and other minerals, and the vinegar pulls these bone-healthy nutrients out of the leaves so it is easy for our bodies to absorb.

I use apple cider vinegar for the tonic because when it is taken with a meal, it has been found to balance blood sugar levels.

Wash organic dandelion greens, dry off the excess water, and push as many as possible into a 1-quart canning jar. Then add Braggs organic apple cider vinegar until all the leaves are submerged. I put a piece of plastic wrap over the jar (so the vinegar does not erode the metal lid), screw on the lid, and store the jar in my cool dark pantry for six weeks. Then I strain out the leaves (which go on the compost) and the zesty mineral-rich vinegar is ready to use.

You can put a spoonful of the dandelion tonic in water and drink it with a meal as a digestive aid, or add it to salad dressing. I sprinkle a spoonful on the bean salads I eat at lunch time. This way I get digestive enzymes, blood sugar support and bone-building minerals all in one simple tonic.

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