Leucanthemum vulgare is an iconic perennial flowering herb that is native to Europe but can be found all over the world. It’s also called the dog daisy, common daisy or moon daisy and can be seen in fields, woodlands and along roadsides. It has serrated to dentated dark green leaves and spreads via rhizomes.
I have a large patch of this in my rabbit forage field and the bunnies always go for these juicy stalks first when they get their daily bundle of wild grasses. The dead nettle has died down for the most part and so the oxeye daisy makes for much of their non-grassy forage this time of year, now that it is getting hotter.
The young leaves of this herb can also be used in salads, and the dried leaves have a bitter and tingling flavor similar to that of valerian. The immature flower buds can be marinated and used like capers, which is what I’m preparing today. They have a unique, delicate sweet and spicy flavor that complements many dishes such as smoked fish, salads, pates and sauces.
You must select tightly closed flower buds to ensure the best flavor and that no bugs have made their way in. Then take 1/2 cup apple cider or wine vinegar and 1/2 cup water mixed with 1 tablespoon sea salt and use to cover your flower buds in a glass jar or ceramic crock. Refrigerate and they will be ready to use after three days but will keep in the fridge much longer than that.
These flashy little plants showed up in my bee yard completely out of nowhere. I’m sure nobody planted them but I have seen them growing in my neighbor’s yard a couple of houses down. A quick search shows it to be an invasive plant, but it’s also edible and has medicinal qualities.
The bitter, pungent leaves, which are high in vitamin C are great in salads as the plant is closely related to arugula. The flowers are aromatic, but only in the evenings. It is purported to induce sweating, promote urination and loosen a cough. When in flower, it is said to be a gland stimulant and aphrodisiac. It’s also a great nectar source!
My old cheap, round white dehydrator from Canadian Tire served me well for a few years, but the plastic trays finally crumbled and fell apart and it needed to go. I do a fair bit of dehydrating and decided it was time to invest in a better quality model, so I went with the 3900B 9-Tray Deluxe Excalibur.
I’m not sure why a plastic box with a heat element, thermostat and fan is so expensive, but all dehydrators of this size and quality seem to be comparable in price. At least this one has lots of great reviews. It’s definitely got a lot more capacity than my tiny round one did, and it’s a bit easier to clean. So far here’s what I think of it:
-Large drying capacity
-Square, easy to store and easier to arrange items
-Seems fairly durable
-Relatively easy to clean*
-Tray are a bit flimsy
-Door does not latch shut
-*Still annoying to clean
The door just hangs on the front which would be fine if I didn’t have cats and often dry meats. This means if I’m not supervising I have to put something heavy in front of the door to deter cat theft.
They say you can wash the trays in the top shelf of your dishwasher IF you take them out before the drying cycle. I don’t know about you, but me and my dishwasher don’t really know each other all that well and I’d rather not take the risk of melting my trays. This means I have to scrub the 14″ square trays in my sink and well, they just don’t fit. It’s awkward, water gets everywhere, and I hate it. At least I can dry the trays when I’m done right in the unit!
If I had wanted to spend another $40 to $50, I could have purchased a model with a timer. However, I can just buy a timer for $10 and plug into that if I need one. I think I would rarely use one anyway, and the built-in timer only goes to a maximum of two hours, which generally isn’t enough time for what I’m drying. It’s also just one more thing that can break on the unit, so I decided to go without. Looking forward to drying lots of garden herbs and vegetables this year!
Some people get cravings for carbs, I get cravings for raw meat. That’s why I was super excited to try a rabbit carpaccio dish ever since I started raising my own rabbits. The loin cut is such a tender and finely-grained morsel that I always feel absolute simplicity is best. There is nothing much simpler than this recipe and it is so fresh and delicious. I also call it rabbit sashimi and the flavor and texture reminds me of a mild raw tuna. Sushi lovers will appreciate this dish.
1 Fresh rabbit loin
Half a lemon
Salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
Remove the silverskin from the loin and slice it thinly. Place the slices in a single layer on a plate and sprinkle with salt. Squeeze on lemon juice and drizzle with olive oil. Serves 4 to 6 as appetizers.