Saturday, 27 August 2016

Three Great Uses For Dandelion Leaves - Wild Harvest this Edible Weed in Springtime

Go wild harvesting for dandelion in the cities, the suburbs, parks or out in the countryside.  They are a superb and abundant food source - actually a superfood weed.

True Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) - a familiar plant in our everyday landscapes - typically overlooked as a source of great food and medicine.


Of the dandelion family (also known as False Dandelion) is Cat's Ear (Hypochoeris radicata). It is a familiar plant in my landscape. It has a blander taste than true dandelion and tends to be less bitter - young leaves are less fibrous. The leaves are also edible - raw or cooked. The root can also be roasted as a coffee substitute. Not good for horses to consume too much.

You don’t need to go far to find dandelion greens. Stop and look around you - you can probably spot some close by. They are an abundant and attractive edible weed. Around here, they are popping up everywhere at the moment. Don’t weed them. Eat them!  

Dandelion has been consumed for thousands of years as a food but also used as a medicine to treat anaemia, scurvy, skin problems, blood disorders, and depression. 

WHY EAT DANDELION GREENS?

  • Dandelion greens are rich in antioxidants which prevent free-radical damage to cells, and are high in:
  • Vitamin K (building strong bones, preventing heart disease)
  • Vitamin A (healthy teeth, bones, mucus membranes, skin and eyes)
  • Iron (essential for producing red blood cells and transferring oxygen from the lungs to your body)
  • Fibre (helps body shed waste)
  • Potassium (to help regulate heart rate and blood pressure)
  • Also vitamins C and B6, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.

THREE WAYS TO EAT DANDELION GREENS

  1. Eat raw dandelion leaves. Harvest them while they are still young and tender before they’ve flowered for the best taste. At other times you may prefer to blanch them in boiling water for 20 to 30 seconds to improve taste before adding them to salads or sandwiches.
  2. Make dandelion leaf pesto (add dandelion leaves to your favourite pesto recipe)
  3. Add dandelion leaves to your stir fry, quiche, soup, stews or casseroles.

USING OTHER PARTS

Every part of this common edible weed is tasty both raw and cooked, from the roots to the flowers.
The roots make a delicious coffee alternative and medicine and the flowers are sweet and crunchy. You can eat them raw in a salad, or make a wine. 

CAUTION: Choose dandelions you know have not been sprayed with pesticides, fertilisers, or other chemicals.


More edible weed ideas coming soon!

4 comments:

  1. while they may be in the dandelion family...The plants in your photos are not actually dandelions ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your comment. Since a kid I had known this as dandelion, but today a few comments from readers has shown me a different leaf. I appreciate being corrected. This picture, while of the dandelion family, is apparently Cat's Ear. I stand corrected. Many thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good Sharing, as I know free radicals have also been implicated in atherosclerosis, liver damage, lung disease, kidney damage, diabetes mellitus, and ageing. Antioxidants, present in many foods, are molecules that prevent free radicals from harming healthy tissues. There are ways to avoid or minimize free radical damage, you can find more at:
    http://kidbuxblog.com/about-free-radicals/

    ReplyDelete
  4. Also have called this dandelion since young. Read dandelion is heart strengthener. Ate these leaves in raw salad and noticeable stronger heartbeat. Since I take several heart meds, not sure if the combination caused the effect.

    ReplyDelete