A delicious wild green is pretty abundant in early spring - dandelions. The young leaves, the flowers, even the roots have beneficial qualities. If you are harvesting dandelions, be sure they have not been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides. They must be completely organic. Here is more information on the individual parts of the plant.
Dandelion greens are wonderful fresh in salads, and sauteed or steamed. They taste like chicory and endive, with an intensely bitter taste. The leaves are so nutritious, higher in beta-carotene than carrots, the iron and calcium content is greater than spinach. Also found in dandelion leaves are vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6, B-12, C, E, P, and D, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.
Collect young dandelion leaves in early spring, when they're the tastiest, before the flowers appear. Harvest again in late fall. After a frost, their bitterness disappears. Dandelions growing in rich, moist soil, with the broadest leaves and largest roots, are the best.
You can also eat dandelion flowers, drink dandelion flower tea or use them to make wine. Use only the flowers yellow parts. The green sepals at the flowers base are bitter. The flowers add color, texture, and an unusual bittersweet flavor to salads.
The taproot is edible all year, but is best from late fall to early spring. Use it as a cooked vegetable, especially in soups. Pre-boiling and changing the water, or long, slow simmering mellows dandelion root.
Dandelion and Fresh Goat Cheese Salad
1 bunch dandelion greens, cleaned and dried
1/4 pound fresh white goat cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
1/3 cup chopped red onion
2 T light vinegar
2 T good olive oil
½ t sugar
3-4 T toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts
- Cut off and discard stem bases.
- Cut each stalk into 2-inch pieces.
- Pile on a serving dish; intersperse with cheese.
- Sprinkle with onion to taste.
- In small pan combine vinegar, oil, and sugar; bring to a boil, stirring.
- Pour over salad and toss lightly.
- Sprinkle with nuts and serve at once.
Warm Dandelion Greens Salad
3/4 pound dandelion leaves
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
4 ounces smoked bacon
1 slice French or Italian bread, cubed
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 hard boiled egg, crumbled
- Wash the greens and tear into small pieces.
- Put into a salad bowl with the oil and vinegar.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Toss lightly.
- Fry bacon until half cooked.
- Add bread cubes and fry until cubes are golden and the bacon is completely cooked.
- Place contents of the pan onto the greens.
- Toss quickly.
- Put the vinegar into the pan and heat rapidly.
- When it is bubbling, pour onto the greens and toss.
- Serve immediately with a sprinkling of the crumbled egg on top.
Dandelion green fettucini
2 cups Dandelion greens
1 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
- Whirl dandelion greens and eggs in a blender until smooth.
- Transfer to a bowl, add salt and start adding flour while beating with a spoon.
- Keep adding until dough is stiff.
- Turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth (approximately 5 minutes).
- Roll out with rolling pin to 1/8"-1/4" thickness or thinner.
- Allow to stand and dry 1 hour, then cut into strips.
- Drop into boiling water and cook 1-2 minutes.
Dandelion Flower Tea Recipe
8 Dandelion flowers
12 oz. Boiling water
Honey or sugar to taste
- Pour boiling water over flowers and let steep for five minutes.
- Add honey or sugar.