Sunday, October 24, 2010

Waste Not Want Not - Making Food With Weeds

I chide my mom for her antipathy toward dandelions, but it does save me a lot of work - I don't have to pick them all! I found her "harvest" in a pot in the yard and grabbed them all for making some veggie-mashup for Vida. 

 Here they are all washed - a colander full of leaves, roots, and even some flowers (thanks to our mild weather here in Southern California). I just soaked and stirred them in a couple of basins of water, a little dirt is a good addition, I think.

Let's remind ourselves why Dandelions are a good addition to pet food: high in minerals,  very good for the liver, for skin eruptions due to poor waste removal, leaves are diuretic (safe since they are high in potassium) so are good for edema, promotes healthy bile activity for good digestion, flowers are high in lecithin and have a mild analgesic action (without salicylic acid that is toxic for cats).

I just pulped them up in a food processor, it only took a few minutes. Since they are bitter, and I already know that Vida doesn't care for the leaves (she'll eat the flowers with relish on the cue "weed.") I added some blueberries, almonds (helped hold the goop together), and purslane (another nutritious weed, sweeter taste). 

Then I covered a small pan with wax paper and put spoonfuls on it, as if I were making cookies, and just popped it in the freezer for the night. 

The next morning I bagged up the frozen nuggets and put them back in the freezer. Tip: always I.D. your concoctions with ingredients and the date. I usually use a Sharpie to write on the bag.

These can be added to any meal, though I recommend adding it to something tasty and stirring it in (most dogs won't like it plopped on top of a pile of dry food). Adding one of these nuggets once or twice a week is an easy way to add fresh nourishment from plants usually not included in their diet. If you're dealing with any of the health issues mentioned use it more often, especially at the onset of Spring (for some dogs in Autumn too, here in Southern California).

Remember, this type of herbal food addition shouldn't be relied upon to resolve serious problems on it's own - don't leave your veterinarian out of the loop (those tests can be lifesavers). If your vet is opposed to the use of herbal foods try finding a holistic vet who will support your care.

PS: Yes, you can eat them too! Try adding them to a smoothie.

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