Dandelions are one of those things on this earth that people either love or hate, it seems. I happen to love them, I never see them as something that ruins a lawn, but rather I see it as a field of sunny yellow wildflowers. I see them as beautiful and full purpose. This spring begin using dandelions for food and medicine from their flowers to their roots.
Using Dandelions as Food
The flowers, leaves, and roots of dandelion are completely edible. Dandelions are a great way to begin foraging and eating wild foods. Most everyone can easily identify dandelions and unless allergic they are safe to ingest.
Eating the Flowers:
The sunny yellow petals have a mild, honey-like flavor that is delicious in a number of applications.
- They are amazing when combined with peanut butter in cookies.
- Dandelion wine is brewed from a tea of the petals.
- Steep the petals in brandy for a sweet infused cordial.
- Jelly too is made from dandelion petal tea.
- Coat the blossoms in batter to make fritters.
Eating the Leaves:
The young spring leaves of the dandelion are tender and delicious. As the greens get older through the summer season, they tend to get bitter. While still fine to eat most of us find the bitterness level objectionable, for that reason eat the leaves in the early spring and leave them be later in the year.
- Toss the leaves into salads.
- Add the cooked greens to flour and eggs for a green and delicious homemade noodle.
- Blend the greens in with smoothies. Freeze the greens into ice cubes for dandelion smoothies even in winter.
- Use like spinach in soups.
Eating the Roots:
Dandelion roots are most often roasted have a flavor that is very similar to coffee.
- Drink the roots in a tea that can be used as a coffee substitute.
- Eat the roots in healing soups.
- Use them to flavor desserts.
Using Dandelions as Medicine
Dandelions are full of healing properties from their roots to their flowers. Gather the flowers and leaves in spring, the roots in fall.
Dandelion Flower & Leaf Remedies:
- Infuse the blossoms in oil for an arthritis soothing massage oil. Use that same infused oil in healing salves, lip balms, and more.
- The flowers can heal chapped skin and make an excellent addition to homemade lotions.
- The fresh and dried leaves are often used in poultices to help pull toxins from the body.
Dandelion Root Remedies:
The roots should be harvested in the fall. They are full of liver cleansing properties that can help flush toxins and inflammation from the body. The roots can also tame indigestion and the bloat that comes from overeating at that holiday feast.
- Infuse the roots into honey for a sweet remedy for upset stomachs.
- Make a tincture of the roots to help flush the liver.
- Drink a cup of dandelion root tea to help flush toxins and ease indigestion.
- There is some evidence that dandelion root helps flush uric acid from the body making it a good treatment option for gout.
Dandelions & The Bees
Dandelions are often the first source of nectar and pollen for bees and other insects in the early spring. As dandelions tend to be very productive plants, the chances of over-harvesting is pretty small. Still, responsible harvesting is always a good practice and that applies to dandelions as well. Take only what you need and leave the rest.
Don’t let the fear of harming the bees prevent you from foraging for dandelions. There’s enough to go around.
Dandelions are often one of the first things we can forage in the spring so get out there and make the most of them for food and medicine in your home.
How will you be using dandelions for food and medicine this year?
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