Most people think dandelions are a weed – a nuisance that should be sprayed with weed killer and mowed over. However, there are some great reasons to let your dandelions grow, or at least harvest them from someplace other than your lawn. These little ‘weeds’ are full of flavor and vitamins.
Dandelions contain a vast amount of vitamins and minerals. Those include Vitamin C, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, potassium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and fiber. It’s astonishing that we trash these loathed little plants, and treat them so poorly when they provide such benefits to our health.
One of the best things about the dandelion is - you can eat the entire plant – from the leaves, flowers, roots, and crowns. If you choose, you can gain benefits from every piece of the plant – and use each part in different dishes or applications.
Dandelion flowers are very versatile – you can make syrups, jellies, honey, vinegar, and wine. They can be used to make dandelion tea and added to salads.
The entire flower head(or crown) can not only provide nutritious elements, but it can also add a unique and exciting look to any dish. You can batter and fry the heads and use as a side dish or an edible garnish.
Dandelion leaves are a great addition to green salads. They can also be stir-fried with other veggies for a delicious and nutritious meal. Most people find the older leaves to have a bitter taste and prefer to use the small young leaves when eating them raw. You can remove some of the bitterness from older leaves by cooking them.
The roots can be roasted and used to make dandelion coffee. I suppose if the world runs out of coffee beans, I might resort to dandelion coffee, but until then, I think I will stick with what I know.
Do you cook with dandelions? I would love to learn how you utilize them in the kitchen!
*A word of caution – make sure you harvest your dandelions in an area that does not use weed killer or other pesticides or herbicides that can be harmful when ingested.