Friday, March 18, 2011

Dandelions our Friends

Comparison of the yellow flower and parachute ...Image via WikipediaDid you know American Colonist brought dandelion seeds with them from across the ocean to plant in their gardens? That little "pest" of a weed that colors your pesticide free front lawn is more our friend than foe. Dandelion flowers and leaves are 100% edible. You can put dandelion greens in your soup, eat them plain or add them to your salad. Some people even make dandelion wine! ( )
 The roots are sweetest in the fall and can be used in teas (when dried) and or added to coffee. (For a good reference on how to dry them see "The Herbal Epicure ")
These slightly bitter herbs have more Vitamin A than broccoli, chard, collars, spinach and carrots!  James A Duke an ethnobotanist who worked for the US Department of Agriculture has been known to eat a hundred dandelion flowers a day for their beta carotene and ascorbic acid. They are also high in lecithin, which is currently being studied for prevention of cirrhosis and as brain food. ( See "The Green Pharmacy") According to Dr Duke the leaves are high in boron and calcium as well as silicon. Not to mention they are full of complex vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium , potash and zinc.

A few fun recipes for dandelions are:

  • cook the bitter leaves with potatoes and onions
  • grate the root, mix with dandelion leaves and add to parsnips and potatoes, perhaps with a little horseradish thrown in
  • eat the flowers in a salad
So nix the pesticides this year, embrace the dandelions!

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