Dandelions are found in gardens and roadsides right around the world. They have flat serrated leaves and yellow pom pom style flowers which turn into the fluff ball seed heads that kids love to blow on. So many gardeners dig these out, treating them as weeds – without recognising the delicious and nutritious plant they have just harvested. [box type=”alert”]Unless you are very, very, very sure that it is Dandelion and it hasn’t been sprayed – please don’t eat it. Never take risks with your health.[/box]
Are Dandelions safe to eat?
Dandelions are an edible plant, and all of the plant (except for the fluffy bits – trust me on that) can be used for a range of dishes and drinks. I’ve had a few people asking if Dandelions can be eaten – and the answer is YES!
In fact, I am quietly betting that someone very soon will realise that Dandelions are very good to eat – and they might be the next Kale! They have all the properties of a “super food” and will start getting some more attention by health coaches soon enough.
Dandelion leaves are rich in vitamins A, C and K, and are good sources of calcium, potassium, iron and manganese. Dandelion leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, and the flower buds, petals, and roots can all be used in various ways.
How to use Dandelions in the kitchen
- Young Dandelion leaves can be snipped off and eaten raw in salads
- Older leaves can be sauteed or added to a stir fry
- Flower petals can be sprinkled on salads or cakes, or in sandwiches (fancy!)
- Flowers can be dipped in batter and fried tempura style
- Flower buds can be added to stir-fries and curries
- Buds can be pickled and used like capers
- Roots can be dried and ground for use as a coffee substitute
- Flowers can also be used to make Dandelion wine (this I haven’t tried)
Do Dandelions have any side effects?
Dandelions roots are a diuretic. That means that consuming Dandelion can make you go to the toilet. A lot. In fact, Dandelions are called pissenlit in France – which literally translates as “wet the bed”.
Making Dandelion coffee
Well, in the spirit of learning I had a go at this. The roots were washed, slowly roasted, then ground up and added to hot water. The result was OK – but I think I will only do this again if there is some sort of apocalyptic event that impacts on coffee supplies. In which case, I would probably switch to mint tea anyway.
Eat your weeds!
Have you tried Dandelion greens? Please let me know in the comments below if you are going to try it – rather than throwing it away.