Did you know that dandelions can be used in cooking? Instead of mowing them down, harvest them for wine, jelly, or a variety of side dishes! Here’s a selection of dandelion recipes to try.
A History of Dandelion Delicacies
Native to Eurasia, this humble member of the aster family has traveled far and wide. Believe it or not, the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) was not always thought of as a weed. Cultures around the world thought of the dandelion as a “common herb” and have used every part of the plant as both nutritious food and powerful medicine.
The dandelion is rich in nutrients, including protein, calcium, iron, and Vitamins A and C.
One of the plant’s common nicknames in French—pissenlit (pee-the-bed)—attests to dandelion’s use in traditional healing cultures as a valuable diuretic agent (rich in potassium).
Dandelions are good for digestion and may ease rheumatism or liver problems. They can be eaten whole or divided up. Young dandelion greens can be tossed in salads and young leaves can be cooked like spinach. Leaves should be gathered before the plant blooms as they will become increasingly bitter and tough. Learn more about gathering, cleaning, and cooking with dandelions.
Note: Only harvest dandelions from areas where no pesticides or other chemicals have been used.
Here are several recipes to try:
Eat Your Greens
Dandelions make an excellent side dish to any meal. Try one of these with your next summer dinner:
Dandelion Jelly. Photo by minadezhda/Shutterstock.
For a refreshingly different brew in the morning, try Dandelion Root Coffee.
Do you cook with dandelions? Share your recipes in the comments below!