The dandy dandelion is being relentlessly sprayed, pulled, and dug up to prevent it from marring the face of our pristine green lawns. But are we missing something important? Haven’t I seen dandelion greens mixed in with other greens at the supermarket? Yes, and they are the exact same dandelion.
Dandelions are a highly nutritious green as well as it has medicinal properties. They are being found in green mixes at the supermarket and in dishes at gourmet restaurants across America.
Dandelion greens can be used in salads, green smoothies, tea or any recipe calling for greens. They are wonderful sauteed with onion, garlic and olive oil. The best time to harvest the greens is in the spring when they are young, tender, and more tasty. After spring the leaves can become bitter. The greens can be dried and used as a tea.
Dandelion flowers can be used in salads (remove the green part) or steamed with veggies.
Dandelion root (harvested year around but best in spring or fall when not flowering) can be cooked like a root vegetable and tastes good cooked with carrots or added to soups. It can also be made as a tea.
Dandelions are nutritious with many vitamins and minerals. In 1/2 cup chopped greens there is 277% of the daily requirement for vitamin K, 61% vitamin A, and 16% vitamin C. They are a nourishing addition to the diet of a person who eats poorly, or for the stressed, sedentary person. As a medicine dandelion is used for allergies (best known for this), aids in getting rid of gall stones, as a blood cleanser, aids in digestion, and helps with diabetes and hypoglycemia.
Concerned about the environment? Dandelions are the MOST important first source of food for honey bees coming out of winter starving and able to seek out food for the first time in months. Without dandelions these little bees are having to buzz further away from the warmth of their hive to find food and risk further exhaustion when they are already vulnerable.
I say, let the dandy dandelions bloom! I will gladly accept my grass dotted with these yellow flowers in order to harvest them for their high nutrition, for medicine, or to help my buzzing bee friends.