As spring is approaching us in the Northern Sphere I would like you to turn your attention to greens, weeds and vegetables.
I have been gardening yesterday and discovered so many edible weeds growing already. If you have a garden you will most likely notice dandelions everywhere. They have bright yellow flowers based on tall single stalk, you can’t miss them.
Dandelions are very distinct so you can recognize them easily, the leaves are formed in a wide rosette and yellow flowers composed of tiny rays, which can turn overnight into a white globe of seeds.
Dandelions plants are edible from roots to flowers and are full of vitamins. Pick young leaves, before the flowers appear to avoid the bitterness, to add to salads. Once the leaves mature you can steam them or boil (change the water at least twice), to get rid of the bitterness but you will also get rid of soluble, essential vitamins.
You can also stir-fry them with other sweet vegetables, like carrots and sweet pea, in oil olive, if you prefer.
The flowers add vibrant color to the salads and you can dig up the root and make herbal coffee.
The flowers can also be boiled or stir-fried and add more texture to the meal. They are bittersweet so will enhance the flavor of your dish. Collect the flowers early in the morning to get there before the bugs get there in full day. You can also put them in olive oil or vinegar bottles for an interesting twist.
Dandelion flowers can also be dipped in flour and butter and eaten as fritters but I don’t recommend that. However it’s an excellent way to get introduced to green wild foods.
For dessert you can also dip the flowers in melted chocolate!
The roots can also be boiled and add to parsnips and potatoes or other root vegetables for a twist. You can also pre-boil them and add to vegetable stock. If you make miso soup add dandelion root with ginger, it’s an excellent combination.
Now I must tell you about the goodness in dandelions. They are amazingly nutritious! High in beta-carotene – more than carrots. Have lots of iron and calcium, greater than spinach! They are full of B vitamins (B-1, B2, B-5, B6, B-12) as well as vitamin C, E, P and D. They contain biotin, inositol, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc.
The root has insulin sugar.
The tonic made out of dandelion root is excellent remedy for strengthening the liver and detoxifying gallbladder, where it helps to get rid of gallstones and enhances the flow of the bile.
Dandelion is also diuretic, because the root and leaf tea acts on kidneys and cleanse the body improving skin and purifying the blood. The tea is very beneficial for people who eat processed food as it helps to break the fat. I really recommend it after diner as digestive.
The milky sap helps to remove warts, pimples, moles, sores and calluses. It can also sooth bee stings and blisters.
Use dandelion leaves together with basil to make pesto sauce or add to salads. Treat it as any other greens. It’s free!
I add it to my green smoothies and green juices. I’ll post some recipes and photos later.