In replying to the subject of this post… Yes, yes and yes. :)
A couple of years ago I began to experiment with eating ‘wild’ plants. Like others, I once thought of them as weeds…. I no longer regard any plant as a weed. Now, I classify plants as edible and inedible. :)
Dandelions are beneficial and nutritious… packed with vitamins and minerals that surpass most other greens except for Kale.
Dandelions are Vitamin A and K POWERHOUSES!!! … and this ‘just’ from one cup.
If that’s the definition of a weed… being called a weed is a compliment. Feel free to call me a weed … any time. :)
Dandelions are considered weeds because they live FREE and large chemical companies selling poisons, have convinced ‘us’ that we must have uniform lawns and we *MUST* kill all wild plants in our lawns or properties.
… on what PLANET does it seem logical to pollute our environment with toxins, to kill nutritious plants?
Answer: On a planet dominated by large corporations who are hell bent on being the ONLY source of ‘food’ … Monsanto, Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Nestle’, PepsiCo etc.
Note: Monsanto, Cargill, Nestle’, PepsiCo etc do not profit when you forage or buy locally. … that’s one of the reasons I LOVE DOING IT! :)
/End Food politics rant. :)
Eat Wild Dandelions?
Of course! I’ve already established their nutritional benefit and that we can stick our finger in the eye of ‘Big Food’ companies when we eat them.
Another reason? … they taste delicious! I admit that I began eating them due to the novelty factor… but I continue to eat them due to their eXcellent flavor. They are much better tasting than spinach or kale … in my opinion.
Typically I eat very little vegetables. A handful a day or less, most days. I am not against vegetables (and dandelion is a vegetable) … I just don’t think that I require them given my ‘way of eating’.
Having said that, if I am going to eat them… why not eat vegetables that are nutritious, local … and better yet, free!! :)
How I Forage Dandelions (any edible plant)
1) Find them off the beaten path. I typically will look for dandelions 10 yards are more off of ‘dog paths’…. for the obvious reason, dogs can pee on them. :)
2) Away from roads. I never pick them close to a road, choosing to avoid those that are 10 yards or closer to the road. The further the better. My purpose here is to avoid plants with ‘road grime’ on them. The 10 yard rule is an arbitrary one, I’m figuring this out as I go.
3) In a ‘wild’ grass area. I never pick any plant when it appears herbicides have been used. In other words, if the dandelion is the only wild plant in the area…
a) It’s probably had herbicides sprayed and …
b) Possibly could have pesticides applied in the area as well.
Ideally I prefer wide open fields with many wild plants growing… and if it hasn’t been mowed recently… even better!
Where I am located there is three miles of a natural wetland park near the Neuse River… there are many edible plants here. … a buffet if you will. :)
4) Once picked. If I am picking a ‘grocery bag full’ …. I spray with water lightly and refrigerate. The evening before I plan to eat them I will select the leaves, pods and blossoms for eating. I will only pick those that look uniform in color and clean them at this time by rinsing and rubbing off any soil. I then place them in a bowl and cover in water to allow them to soak. (see below) As with all of my pictures, click to enlarge. :)
5) Prior to cooking I will inspect them again for any soil that may have escaped my previous inspection. If needed I’ll rinse, clean or spray them with water prior to cooking.
Then I just add to the skillet or pot and cook for 15-20 minutes before starting the meat of the day. :) Here’s a view of a recent meal of Dandelion greens and chicken thighs.
All parts of the Dandelions are edible and beneficial according to numerous websites. So far, I’ve only eaten the blossoms and leaves.
1) Raw – I’ve eaten the blossoms, pre-blossom pods and leaves raw… they are ‘ok’. I wouldn’t sit down to eat a big bowl of them raw… but I could. :)
The pods are the tastiest, the leaves are… well … leaves, fairly bland. :)
The flowers taste good at first (kind of sweet) but typically have a bitter after taste raw. Cooking removes the bitterness in my opinion.
2) Cooked – I love them fried in natural fats. So far I’ve cooked them in coconut oil. butter, pork, beef and chicken fat… they were delicious in all of them. The flowers remind me of fried okra, which I love!!
I would suggest cooking them as you do any other green. I usually season with Himalayan Salt.
Food posts are coming showing different methods of cooking them.
3) Dandelion wine and tea from Roots and Leaves – I have not tried this… yet. :)
Some are thinking, “I’m not going to eat a weed!”
How do I know you are thinking that??? …. because several people have said it to my face. You do not have to eat it. My purpose with this post is to show you that you CAN!
Towards that purpose, below are links I found in a few clicks… I am not vouching for these links… so reader beware. :)
A link from Google Shopping for Dandelions, interesting to see Now Foods selling Dandelion Root … obviously I’d never buy it, I’d just pick some. :)
Here is a ‘Conventional Wisdom’ website from the University of Maryland, with information on Dandelions, I can’t vouch for the accuracy….. it is after all ‘conventional wisdom’. :)
Dandelion greens are sold in some grocery stores apparently, I have not seen them myself.
They are nutritious and they are diabetes friendly. I believe that any time we can buy local it benefits the planet and us. The main reason being that profits from the sale are less likely to go to a large corporation. This is even MORE true if we can forage locally.
I’ve been doing this for several years now but I’ve been doing it to a larger extent the last couple of months … with no ill effects.
Lastly, what could be more ‘primal’ than walking or riding your bike in nature and taking a few minutes to ‘pick’ your food for tomorrow. Getting outside in nature is never a bad idea.
If you don’t eat ‘leafy green vegetables’ such as kale or spinach because of the taste… I urge you to give Dandelion Greens a try…. I did. :)