Saturday, June 18, 2011

Free health food at the edge of your culinary comfort zone.

Lazy? You may already have a garden! The Dandelion is one of the first edible plants to pop up in the spring. Often considered a weed, think of it instead as a resilient self-planting early-bloomer that goes nicely in a salad or cooked in a stirfry or soup.
When you're gathering dandelion greens, look for the smallest plants, preferably before the blossom has opened. Those young leaves are the tenderest and tastiest. Once the blossoms have opened, they're much easier to spot and can be bitter. Parboiling these greens before serving makes them less bitter.
There are plenty of health benefits associated with dandelion greens. In addition to being high in vitamin A and C, it also contains lots of calcium and potassium.
Dandelion greens are a diuretic, and is sometimes used to improve digestion, help with liver disorders, reduce blood pressure and promote kidney function.
There are plenty of chemicals out there designed to kill this little healthy flower. Avoid harvesting dandelions unless you're sure the area is free of chemicals or pesticides.
Dandelion may also interfere with some antibiotics. You're responsible for your own health. Do your own research. Lots of information is out there, and speaks quite highly of this plant you probably already have in your yard, and could simply go out and pick, for free.
Dandelion Wine, made with the blossoms, yeast, sugar, water and various other ingredients according to the recipe is another way to take advantage of the bounty you didn't even realize you had. (Recipes for dandelion wine vary, and abound on the internet.)
Eating fresh dandelion greens may be a little outside your comfort zone, which means this will be a growth experience for you. It will also connect you more strongly to where food really comes from. (It's not the store.)
If you're not using pesticides or chemicals and you have dandelions available it's worth a try. Read up on how beneficial dandelions are and find recipes online. Post success stories (or disasters) here.
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1 comment:

  1. Great post on the same topic at the Paulinate blog