What is it about dandelions that make them so resilient? Every spring they appear in hordes and take over our grassy lawns and gardens. Found in almost all four corners of North America, dandelions are not given the great healing, and culinary respect, that they deserve. Like nettles, most people see them as pests, but if you look closer you will see a tonic plant like no other!
Each part of the dandelion can be utilized in cooking or medicine making:
- The fresh flowers can be coated with batter and eaten as fritters or made into dandelion wine.
- The roots when harvested are full of digestive bitters, which aid with digestion by improving enzyme secretions.
- They support liver cleansing and help increase the flow of bile, and is great at toning the kidneys.
- The leaves are cleansing to the kidneys, and full of vitamins and minerals like Vit A and C, calcium, magnesium, and iron.
Harvesting and using in the kitchen:
- Make sure to harvest from clean, unsprayed, organic areas. If dandelions clean your liver and kidneys, they are also good at cleaning up the area in which they lived. If this area has seen lots of toxins, sprays, or synthetic fertilizers- the dandelion is cleaning up that area too, but shouldn't be eaten by you.
- Harvest the young leaves before they get too large. Leaves are very bitter, and the younger they are, the better they will taste for an accompaniment in salads etc.
- Steam, or add raw leaves to salad.
- Harvest the younger roots by pulling up, washing, and peeling (this is a bit hard, so if you can't no big deal- it just makes them a bit earthier.) Add the roots to stir fires, soups, or casseroles.
- Dry or dehydrate the leaves for nourishing tea. Roots can be dried as well and then made into medicinal tinctures. Roast the dried roots to make a delicious dandelion root tea that is great rich coffee replacement! I have the entire recipe here on how to harvest and make roasted dandelion tea and It's like a sweet treat even your kids will love!
If you don't have access to dandelion or it's not in season, you can buy dandelion tea, and use as a restoring liver and kidney tonic, but always remember to buy organic!
This plant is truly one of the healthiest medicines in the natural pharmacy!!
Recipes with dandelion:
- WILD ROASTED SWEET POTATOES WITH DANDELION ROOT AND NETTLES
- Roasted Dandelion Root Latte