Dandelions For Dinner


Dandelions are considered a nuisance by many, but to those in-the-know regarding foraging, the dandelion is a source of free food. Did you know that dandelions are edible?

Dandelions are probably the easiest plant to identify, and are quite widespread. The entire dandelion is edible, from the root to the flower, and they can be found quite easily in many areas, even in early spring or late fall.

If you look out your window right now, you might even see some…

The dandelion flower can be eaten right off the plant. The young ones taste the best. As they grow bigger and more mature they will develop a slightly bitter taste.

The leaves can be eaten too. Young leaves taste best. As they mature, they develop a bitter taste. By briefly boiling them, much of the bitterness will be removed.

The roots can also be eaten, however it is advised that you boil them.

The water used from boiling can even be drunk as a tea afterward.

Note: Olive oil will take away some of the bitterness.
Note: Know where your dandelions come from. Have they been sprayed with lawn chemicals?

Dandelions are loaded with vitamins and anti-oxidants and are one of nature’s richest green vegetable sources of beta-carotene, from which vitamin A is created (14,000 units/100 g leaf). They also are a very good source of Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Manganese.

Who knew??

Foraging Books:

The Forager’s Harvest
A Field Guide To Edible Wild Plants
Foraging the Rocky Mountains
Northeast Foraging
Pacific Northwest Foraging
Southeast Foraging

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  1. I’m a big proponent of knowing wild plants/weeds that are edible. For folks who live in the south who have witnessed the proliferation of the Japanese imported Kudzu vine, and like me viewed it like a highly invasive nuisance that takes over the edges of woodlands, you might be surprised, as I was, that it is not only edible, but tasty and nutritious. Google “the edible kudzu”.

    In my area, it is not the occasional plant you run across, rather, you see acres upon acres of land completely overgrown with this leafy vine. Probably should keep this knowledge secret, as folks would probably starve while surrounded by it, not knowing.

  2. Dandelions are a good opening for a very serious topic. These common, boring “lawn weeds” were actually plants that had been used by the common folk of Europe for centuries.

    The thing that’s out of place isn’t that Europeans accidentally brought these “weeds” to America, it’s the recent introduction of the lawn. Almost every weed brought here from overseas over a hundred years ago was intentionally brought. You can think of them as part of some immigrant’s survival supplies. Plants like dandelions and plantain are sorta multipurpose tools.

  3. My great Grandma made dandelion wine from the sweet flower petals. If you eat the flower petals, you need to wash them down with water for being so small as they stick to the inside of your mouth, but they actually have a nice pleasant taste as long as you don’t eat the green base part under the flower. I haven’t dried out the root to pound out for a coffee substitute yet, but I eat it raw and it is less bitter than the leaves in spring.

  4. Dandelion jelly is what we make from these flowers, has a honey flavor. I prefer honeysuckle jelly (easier for me to gather).

    1. made dandelion jelly for the first time this year. very labor intensive, but tasted wonderful.

      Also made violet and clover jelly.

      my peony jelly didn’t jell, even after i re-did it. it smelled sooooo good and tasted good, but would not jell. :(

  5. My grandma made the leaves into a ‘creamed spinach’ but I do not know the recipe, unfortunately.

  6. Like Stardust’s Great Grandma, I make a Fan-Friggen-Tastic Dandelion Wine (not that I’m bragging mind you). I keep a few bottles stored, as with most good Wines the older the better. And talk about something that’s medicinal, Dandelion Wine will cure what ails you….
    As far as grazing the field for the little Yellow Flower, I like to add some to a salad when guest show up, just to see the expression… LOL

  7. This year every where you look in our yard is yellow with dandelions. Haven’t seen this much yellow in a while. Too bad we don’t still keep bees but it will be good for the wild ones. No matter what I guess we won’t have to starve.

  8. As a child our grand mother would have all of the grand children picking the dandelions. She would use them in so many ways, strangely, we never knew what she did with the flowers. ?

    Here in the southern areas we don’t have the Dandelion, but where ever you are there is a world of foods to forage.

    It pays to know what that weed is.

  9. To the Native North American Indian, there was no such thing as a ‘weed’.
    Every living plant had a purpose.

  10. Years ago when I was making wine, my wife and I picked several pounds of dandelion flowers and used them to make about 2 gallons of wine. My wife still talks about it as the best wine she has ever tasted. We have also used the small leaves right from the plant and added them to our salad for dinner.

  11. I bake and cook the flowers on a skillet. Put them on a cookie sheet, hit with oil, and add your favorite season salt or put some olive oil in the skillet, fry up and season how you like. I can’t keep my kids out of the baked ones. They’ll eat a whole cookie sheets worth if I let them. Leaves are good in salad, but I grow spinach, kale and chards for that.

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