Sunday, May 27, 2012

8 Ways to Eat and Enjoy Dandelion

We love dandelions at our house. 

Very informative article... SRN

Taraxacum officinale ~ Dandelion

I love and appreciate dandelion.  As an herbalist, I know the many ways dandelion can benefit your health, it’s one of my favorite herbs.

Yet, until I became interested in homesteading, I can’t say that I ever considered ways to eat and enjoy dandelion.  I had no idea what I was missing!  Our fore-mothers made regular use of foraged herbs and were skilled in identifying what was edible and what wasn’t.  There was no “organic section” and many times, no grocery store to depend on back then.  I am often in awe of how intelligent and skilled the women of past generations really were.

Untreated dandelion is plentiful in my area, why not look for a way to use it?  Every part of the plant can be used, it’s organic and full of vitamins and minerals!  (When harvesting dandelion, look for young ones.)

When I look out back at acres of the stuff, I can’t help but wonder how to make use of this free and organic food source!

Dandelion includes:

One of the richest sources of beta caroteneof all herbs (10161 IU per 100g, which is
 338 percent of the RDA) Numerous flavonoids,
 including FOUR times the beta carotene of broccoli;
 also lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin
Possibly the HIGHEST herbal source of vitamin K 1
providing 650 percent of the RDA Vitamins, 
 including folic acid, riboflavin, pyroxidine,
 niacin, and vitamins E and C Great source of minerals,
 including magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, 
and iron Leaves rich in dietary fiber,
 as well as a good laxative.

Dandelion leaves can be used in salads, soups, juiced, cooked the same way as spinach, or dried (with flowers) to make dandelion tea. The root can be dried and roasted and used as a coffee substitute, and the flowers can be used to make dandelion wine.  (The greens can be sauteed with olive oil and onion to add to eggs for a wonderful frittata! KM)
Dandelions are known for the following therapeutic properties:
  • Laxative and diuretic; useful for premenstrual bloating and edema.
  • Normalizing blood sugar and cholesterol (dandelion root).
  • Tonic; appetite stimulant and a good general stomach remedy.
  • Liver cleanser; remedy for liver and gall bladder problems ( I have personally used dandelion root to keep my grumpy gall bladder under control).
  • Agent for treating burns and stings (inside surface of flower stems)
  • Leaves are known to help with anemia, again, personal experience speaking. KM.
Dandelions also have antiviral effects so may be useful in combating herpes and AIDS. For more information on the nutritional and medicinal properties of dandelions, go to this article by Leaf Lady.  
Be careful not to confuse dandelion plants with Hawksbeard, which can look very similar. Hawksbeard won’t kill you, but it certainly doesn’t offer the great nutritional benefits of dandelion. Here is a video showing how to tell them apart.  (source)

In my quest to make dandelion our latest culinary delight, I found more ways to eat and enjoy dandelion that you can shake a stick at!  Here’s a few…
* Batter Fried Dandelion Blossoms (my neighbor recommends this!)
Have YOU ever eaten dandelion?  Do you have a favorite recipe or story about it to tell and share?

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