Sunday, April 4, 2010

wild edibles-dandelion

The lowly dandelion is  another one of our favorite early spring time additions to meals. Much like the violets more often than not I add  very young tender greens, buds and flowers to salads.When we have greens dishes I often add the young greens to our harvest  from the gardens. Our newest dandelion dish is poppers or deep fried dandelion flowers.

Tonight I made us some Buffalo wing style poppers and boy were they good. To make them simply cut fresh, just opened dandelion flowers as close to the flower head as you can. The stems have milky sourness in them so be sure to cut as much  off as possible but not so much that the flower falls apart. Rinse well and strain.  Dip in your favorite deep fry batter and deep fry. For the Buffalo  wing sauce I use  tobasco , mix in a dab of butter and touch of salt and coat the  poppers  well and place in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes . Serve hot with ranch or bleu cheese dressing.  For a more dessert like popper try coating the cooked  flowers with cinnamon and sugar.

My next foray with the dandelion is going to be  making a coffee  replacement. To make  "coffee"  dig the roots up wash, wash  and wash again.  chop fine in a food processor and bake  at 225 for a few hours. The dandelion root  will go from a light beige color to a rich coffee like color when done. Cool the dandelion grounds and store in air tight container.Start with a blend of 1 tbsp grounds per cup of drink, adjust to your liking.

I enjoy making vinegars with dandelions as well as vinaigrette. I find it a good way to get some of the  health benefits of the dandelion all year long. Dandelion helps both the liver and gall bladder to break down fat, by stimulating the flow of bile thus helping to  prevent gallstones. Dandelion also helps the liver with its process of detoxification as well as  benefiting kidney function,( as it has diuretic properties,  which makes it beneficial for anyone suffering from a urinary infection).  Dandelions also contain  potassium, magnesium, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, proteins, iron, sulphur, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E. They are also  a richer source of provitamin A (beta carotene) than carrots. Because the leaves are rich in readily available magnesium, dandelion is also a great herb for improving bone health. Magnesium increases bone density, so dandelions may actually help to prevent bone disorders such as osteoporosis.

Medicinally dandelions can be used  as a liver tonic and as a mild diuretic. The roots may be dug in fall or early spring and tinctured. A dropperful of this alcohol extract twice a day is a time-honored remedy for liver complaints. The milk from Dandelion stems can cure warts. It should be applied three times each day. Teas can also be made from the leaves and flowers and drank for liver and gall bladder  cleansing. I personally do not  care for the tea much  but for medicinal use, it is not something I would like to drink a cup or two of every day.The milk from Dandelion stems can cure warts. It should be applied three times each day. Dandelions are currently being studied for control of blood sugar because of the inulin contained within them.

There are many more things that dandelions can be used in both culinary and medicinally. For some really nice and different recipes from cakes, to cornbread, pancakes and wine amongst others check out


  1. How do you make the dandelion vinegar? Not sure if anybody in my family (except me) would eat dandelions, but the vinegar is something I might be able to get away with.

  2. And to think people have been so indoctrinated into thinking this is a noxious weed that must be irradicated*sigh* Our neighbor across the road sprays 3-4 times a season and one day I was out diggin dandelions for the roots and he said," Oh, if you spray them it's much easier to get rid of them." I thought quickly about talking to him of all the health benefits and then remembered a chat we'd had about all of our herbs and flowers and how we use them. He simply got a glazed over look and walked away shaking his head. Anyway back to diggin the dandelions, instead I replied, "not trying to get rid of them, just harvesting some"*wink* LOL again he just shook his head and walked away.

    I use the root, green and flower to make a dried tea mix, adding in a mint and some yarrow and elderberry flowers, for good measure. Nothing like a cup af hot tea and knowing all the good it is doing for you.

  3. Love this dandelion post & sure wish I could've had a taste of your poppers. I love the smell of wing sauce but don't eat wings. Maybe I can learn to make these.

  4. Anke, for the vinegars I just use leaves and flowers,chop and throw it in apple cider vinegar ...cap and let sit for a month or so.. use for vinaigrettes etc.

    Michelle they are very simple and really quite yummy..we are having honey mustard dipped ones tonite :) may as well use them while they are out:)