Dandelions are one of the most hated weeds!
Why? Mostly, by those who want lawns like golf course. Dandelions have been used as food and for medicine for thousands of years so they are actually good for us.
While digging dandelions up from my lawn and vegetable patch last week I decided to harvest them as food rather then as weeds. I decided to celebrate dandelions!
This is what I did:
• I picked the flowers for pancakes and syrup,
• The leaves for salad and steaming
• Kept the roots for dandelion coffee.
"What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." Emerson
• Dandelions came into existence about thirty million years ago in Eurasia and have survived well. Humans have been eating them as food and using them as medicine for as long as there has been recorded history.
• From many source it seems that the dandelion came from Asia where it used as food and medicine.
• Before the year 1000, Arabs used dandelions as a medicine.
• Dandelions did not exist in North America when the Mayflower arrived in 1620. European immigrants used dandelions as part of their regular diet and began to cultivate them in North America which is why they brought them over.
• Now dandelions grow profusely.
7 Health Benefits of Dandelions:
1. The leaves are used to treat upset stomach, muscle aches, intestinal gas, constipation and loss of appetite.
2. Spanish people brought it over for a medicine and for food, chicoria it was called.
3. Germans used it as an early spring infusion of nutrition and vitamins.
4. English used it to cure liver problems and other illnesses.
5. In India it is used mainly for a remedy for liver problems.
6. Dandelion root is grown and exported to Russia for medical remedies.
7. Roots used for the liver and much more.
Dandelion Trivia & Interesting facts:
• The word Dandelion comes from the French name for the plant dents de lion which means teeth of the lion referring to the jagged edges of the leaf of the plant.
• 55 tons of coffee substitutes made from roasted Dandelion roots are sold in England, Australia and Canada.
• Dandelions are important for bees; they are a source of nectar as they flower early and the flowers continue right into the fall.
• Dandelion seeds are food for many small birds.
• Another French name is pis-en-lit, this means wet the bed. When dandelion greens are eaten, they remove water from the body.
• Leaves contain almost as much iron as spinach, four times Vitamin A content.
• Leaves have the highest vitamin A content of all greens.
• Leaves also contain copper, potassium zinc and several vitamins; they are nutrient-dense.
• Dandelion root heads are and excellent foods for the liver because of its relatively high amounts of choline, an important nutrient for the liver.
• Dandelion flowers are full of lecithin proven useful in various liver ailments.
Tips on Choosing your Dandelions:
• The leaves for eating are best from new dandelion plants. These are small dandelion plants with small roots.
• The best roots for the dandelion coffee come from the big well established dandelions.
Please Note Use and Safety: The dandelion pollen may cause allergic reactions when eaten, or adverse skin reactions in sensitive individuals. Because of its high potassium level, dandelion can increase the risk of hyperkalemia when taken with potassium-sparing diuretics.
How to Grow Dandelions (If you don’t have enough!):
It actually seems strange to me that anyone would want to grow them. I will not be doing this as they grow profusely in my garden already; there are many new plants each year for my salads.
• Dandelions are very hardy as you may have noticed; they do not need fertilizer or to be constantly watered as they will grow any where in any conditions.
• If you want to eat the leaves then you need to have your dandelion be a first year plant. When the plant becomes old the leaves are bitter. Dandelions can be grown either by seed or with root segments.
Why are dandelions not considered to be flowers? You have to admit that when dandelion season is in full bloom those yellow blooms are beautiful. Children enjoy picking dandelions for their mom and delight in blowing the puffy dandelion seeds into the wind. I remember that we would make a wish before we blew them.
My first weekend of dandelion celebration was so much fun in the kitchen creating new recipes from dandelions and of course all the other ingredients I use are very healthy too.
Dandelion Pancakes: No milk or eggs, but lots of health and good taste.
Dandelion Root Coffee: The fist time I tried this recipe this year was a Dandelion Disaster, but all is good now!
Dandelion Flower Syrup: You can taste the unique sweetness from the yellow petals. (Read more about the health benefits of the flowers here.)
Dandelion Flower Cordial: The word cordial sounds tasty, and it’s very appropriate in this case!
Dandelion Tea: Made with the leaves — this is perhaps the easiest and fastest way to use a dandelion.
Dandelion Smoothie: After almost passing out from a dandelion smoothie, Randy gives some practical tips to keep your dandelion smoothie palatable.