The other day the gardener was pulling dandelions from the lawn with his fancy claw digger and I thought of all the locavores and herbalists who would love to get their hands on this basket of cheerful edibles.
While some might see them as annoying little weeds, there are many others who welcome them as a sure sign of spring and a potent and useful medicinal that can be brewed, fried and tossed into a salad.
Known for their ability to clean up toxicity (both in the environment and the body) the dandelion plays an extraordinary role helping the body to detoxify. Known as an effective liver tonic, the root can be juiced to help stimulate gastric secretions that are essential to good digestion and overall good health, and the dandelion is also a welcome kidney stimulator helping to prevent water retention. A natural diuretic the it is also a great source of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and vitamins A & C.
Dandelions become more bitter as they age so the best time to incorporate them into your menu is when they first start to nudge through the grass. Brew as a tea, make wine, whisk up some fritters, or toss a few small leaves into your salad and enjoy the benefits. of this amazing edible.
Spa Girl Tip...Although edible all season, picking dandelion leaves in the early spring or late fall, after the first frost, will provide greens that are less bitter
About.com provides this great recipe for Dandelion Greens.
Dandelion greens are cooked with chopped onion, minced garlic, chile pepper, then topped with grated Parmesan cheese.
Ingredients:1 pound dandelion greens, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1 whole small dried hot chile pepper, seeds removed, crushed. 1/4 cup cooking oil, salt and pepper, Parmesan cheese
Discard dandelion green roots; wash greens well in salted water. Cut leaves into 2-inch pieces. Cook greens uncovered in small amount of salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Sauté onion, garlic, and chile pepper in oil. Drain greens; add to onion garlic mixture. Taste dandelion greens and season with salt and pepper. Serve dandelion greens with grated Parmesan cheese.
Recipe for dandelion greens serves 4.
Books, books & more books...
The Dandelion Celebration: A Guide to Unexpected Cuisine by: Peter A. Gail
Dandelions Are Free by: Stacy L. Wanchisn
The Neighborhood Forager: Finding and Preparing Delicious Wild Foods Anywhere by: Robert K. Henderson
The Edible Salad Garden (Edible Garden Series) by: Rosalind Creasy
Soups, Fritters, Wine and more...