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Backyard Harvest: Turn Dandelion Buds into Capers

You can do what with a dandelion? That's right, dandelions are edible and have great health benefits. So before you decide to kill these weedy perennials, try out this recipe to pickle buds into capers.

In one of my craft posts, I wrote about my interest in creating art from painted rocks. These can also be found in the outdoors and often, your own backyard. Now I am going to tell you more about another one of my passions, which is foraging.

Early spring you will start to see your yard covered in the very familiar yellow blossoms. Before stems grow and flower, you will find the small bud at the base of the plant. They will be tightly closed and will look similar to little buttons.

When harvesting edible plants you always want to keep in mind where you are grabbing them. I knew my yard was safe since I do not spray pesticides, but I did have to keep away from Theo's typical bathroom spots. Don't harvest close to roads where car exhaust fumes might reach your edibles or where someone might be spraying.

Dandelion Capers Ingredients

2 Cups Dandelion Buds

1/3 Cup Water

2/3 Cup Vinegar

1 tsp Pickling Salt

2 Cloves Garlic

How to Make Dandelion Capers

Start by prepping the buds by stripping off the sepals, cutting off the extra stem, and washing the buds in cold water. I threw out any buds that were starting to open.

I placed the buds in a sterilized mason jar with a clove or two of garlic. In a saucepan combine the water, vinegar and salt. Bring to a light boil and stir until the salt has dissolved. Pour your hot mixture into your mason jar gilled with the dandelions and garlic, until the mixture covers the dandelions. Cap and store in the refrigerator for up to seven days or process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.

You will notice the dandelions will want to float to the top of the liquid. Every couple of days I carefully mixed the dandelions and liquid by turning the jar upside down, that way all of the dandelion buds are covered by the water mixture.

These dandelion buds are a great substitute for your store bought capers and can be used in the same ways. I have added them on to grilled pheasant BBQ pizza and made homemade lemon chicken piccata.

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