Served as a salad or even cooked, these leafy greens are surprisingly tasty and incredibly good for you. In fact, every part of the dandelion is edible, from the flower down to the roots. Of course you can find these in your yard or other grassy locale, but be very careful not to eat anything from an area that may have been treated with pesticides. It’s always a good policy to wash the leaves very thoroughly! If you’re wary about using naturally growing greens, check out the produce section of most food shops.
Note: The older a dandelion plant gets, the more bitter it’s going to taste. Young, tender dandelion greens can be eaten raw and in salads. Older, larger greens need to be blanched or steamed to remove any bitterness.
Dandelion Greens Salad
½ lb. young raw dandelion leaves, washed and dried
½ red onion, chopped
5 grape tomatoes, halved
Add what you have: apple or pear slices, raisins or dried cranberries, nuts or cheese of all kinds, etc.
Combine ingredients and toss in a vinegar and oil dressing with a bit of salt and pepper to best appreciate the taste of the greens.
12 dandelion blossoms with green base and stems removed (leave enough of the base on to hold the flower together)
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1. Soak the dandelion flowers in a bowl of cool salt water to remove any bugs or debris. After they’ve soaked for around 1/2 hour, take them out of the water and gently blot the excess moisture away.
2. Heat enough oil to fry the dandelions you have.
3. While the oil is heating, make a batter using the milk, salt, egg and flour. Dip each flower into the batter, and toss it into the oil once it’s popping hot. Fry until they’re lightly browned.
4. Use a paper towel to gently blot away excess grease, and serve immediately. Yum!
People have been roasting dandelion root as a coffee substitute for centuries. Though dandelion root is a bit more bitter (tasting much like New Orleans’ style chicory coffee), it's also caffeine free and contains more antioxidants and nutrients than regular coffee. Roots are best dug up in the spring when they have the most nutrients.
1. Once you’ve dug up a fair-sized pile of dandelion roots, wash them in the sink or in a bucket of water. They’ll be full of dirt, so you’ll likely have to scrub them a few times to get all the dirt off.
2. While you’re washing, preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
3. Once the roots are clean, chop them into small chunks. Then put them in a bowl of water and scrub them one more time.
4. Place the roots on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven to dry. Leave the oven door open slightly to let moisture escape. You’ll want to stir them frequently to make sure they’re drying evenly and they don’t burn. The drying process will take at least two hours. As the roots dry they’ll shrink and turn to a pretty brown color. Make sure they don’t burn!
5. Once the roots are roasted, let them cool completely. Then, store them in a sealed glass mason jar. To make the coffee, use 1 teaspoon of roots for every cup of water. You can put them in the coffee pot, or put them in a tea infuser and add boiling water. In my opinion, adding hot milk takes away the slight bitterness and makes for a truly wonderful cup of dandelion coffee!
Courtesy of Heather Levin