It’s dandelion season! Dandelion leaves are at their peak – no traces of the bitterness that will arrive after the summer heat kicks in. These nutrient-dense perennial greens are loaded with vitamins and minerals, rich in vegetable protein and easily digestible. The leaves contain twice the calcium as kale or spinach, and are full of vitamins A and C, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium! Medicinally, dandelions are a very safe and effective general tonic, improving overall health and alleviating a variety of ailments.
Native to Europe and Asia, dandelions were introduced into the Midwest from Europe to provide food for our imported honeybees in early spring. Dandelions are quickly and easily harvested from untreated lawns (you can also grown your own in flowerpots if you like) or from Meijer grocery (although the dandelion greens at Meijer are generally rather bitter).
This recipe for dandelion rice is perfect for those who have never tried dandelion, as it contains a relatively small amount of dandelion. The Spice Rack at 2nd Street Market has orzo , rice, and vegetable bouillon powder, and Hydrogrowers has the garlic and olive oil.
- 1 T olive oil
- 4 chopped garlic cloves
- ¼ cup orzo
- 2 cups dandelions, coarsely chopped
- 3 cups rice
- 6-7 cups water
- 5 or 6 teaspoons of vegetable bouillon powder
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet (one with a lid) and sauté the garlic until lightly browned. Add the orzo and sauté until the orzo is golden brown. Add the dandelion leaves and sauté for half a minute or so, then add the rice and sauté it until it is mostly coated with oil. Add the water and the bouillon powder and gently whisk the bouillon powder until it blends with the water.
Bring this mixture to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to low, cover and cook 25- 40 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. If more water is needed before the rice becomes tender, add some boiling water and continue cooking.
When done, add butter and salt as desired before serving.
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