Picking & Drying Dandelion Blossoms
WHEN TO PICK: Pick the blossoms as early in the day as possible and as early in the Spring time as you can. It is best to pick no later than one-hour meridian noon (that is the time when the sun is directly overhead where you are).
WHERE TO PICK: Pick dandelions where you are reasonably sure no poisons and mineral fertilizers have been applied. Do not pick along roadside or near parking lots. If poison spray drifts from other areas into your picking area, that is a problem and do not pick there.
WHAT TO PICK: Dandelion blossoms open one tiny petal at a time from the periphery, and often have a three-day cycle of opening and closing. The earlier the blossoms are harvested in the blooming cycle, the better will be the quality of the preparation that can be made. So long as a clearly distinguishable “bulls eye” of tight, unopened petals is visible in the center of the blossom, it is a candidate for harvest. As the blossom ages, its color changes from a bright yellow to a dull, or “muddy” orange, and eventually the white puff, or seed parachute, appears. A closed blossom in early bloom stage has rounded top, or crown, while an older blossom begins to assume a cone shape. Pick only the young blossoms with bull’s eyes as described. Pop the flowers off the stems, and remove leaves or “trash.”
DRYING AND SHIPPING: Blossoms need careful drying, which must be done in a warm, dry, shady spot. The faster they dry, the better. A good method is to dry blossoms on a nonmetallic screen (fiberglass or nylon) as they dry faster with air circulation below as well as above. Another is to put them near a wood stove spread out on newspapers. Dehydrators are not recommended without a lot of checking for the blossoms tend to get over dried and fall apart. Once dried, put them in a bag and ship them to us right away.