What if you had the world’s most nutritious food growing in your backyard? What if you didn’t even plant it there, it just grew by itself with no tilling, tending or watering? What if you could harvest as much of it as you wanted, and it would just keep coming back? And…..What if it actually tasted good?!
Yep, that’s all true about Dandelion. Did you know that Dandelion was brought over with European settlers as a food source?? My how things have changed, lol!
Easy to recognize, easy to harvest and the entire plant is edible. What a good friend this sunny little flower is!!
If I could only have one Wild Food forever more, it would be this one. It never gets boring, it is so versatile:
Roots: use fresh for medicinal tinctures to help with digestion. Chop fresh roots and put into a stir-fry or into soup. Dried and roasted roots make a delicious tea, it tastes deeply nutty with a sort-of-chocolatey undertone.
Leaves: Use fresh to toss in salad, soup and hot dishes. Yes, they are bitter, so chop them small and mix well with other foods. Bitter foods are great for our digestion! Make pesto. Make tea. Dry them to use throughout the winter in soups and teas.
Flower buds: Saute in butter and eat it just like that. So yummy! You can pickle or ferment these, too, to use like capers. You’ll want the smallest, tightest buds for that.
Flower stems can be cooked and used like noodles, topped with your favorite sauce, or just eat with salt and butter. (Salt and butter are like magic, aren’t they??? They make everything taste good!)
The flowers themselves are so versatile – my favorite way to eat them is as a fritter: dipped in batter, fried and eaten with a bit of maple syrup. Or salt and butter. You could also chop them up fresh and toss in a salad or soup. And of course, let’s not forget Dandelion Wine.
The whole plant can be steeped in vinegar to use in a healthful delicious salad dressing, or any other way would use regular vinegar.
I haven’t personally eaten dandelion fluff before, but I’d bet that the fluff would just kind of disappear when mixed into a salad or soup – then you’d be left with that tiny little seed, bursting with nutrients.
Let me leave you with a couple of links with recipes and more information. Happy Spring, my friends. 🙂
- Learning Herbs is a great resource.
- Alan Bergo, aka The Forager Chef, never disappoints.
- This link is a surprise. You will like it, I’m sure of that. 🙂