Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dandelions (part 1 of Salad Series)

I have a whole series on salads planned. How can salad be that interesting you ask? Just wait and see! We'll be talking about how to make your own croutons, homemade salad dressings, and more. If you haven't seen my post on sprouting, check it out as an easy way to give your salads a big nutritional boost. Today's post is about dandelions.

Those pesky plants that grow in your yard are actually good for you! If you want to get rid of them, try serving them for dinner. Dandelions are the ultimate in "eating locally"! Dandelions are actually very healthy. Their official name is "Taraxacum Officinale" which means "the official remedy for disorders". This website says:

"Modern science has analyzed dandelion greens. They are a good source of calcium, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. They have twice as much vitamin A in a one-cup serving than most vitamin pills. They also have as much calcium as a children’s vitamin or half a glass of milk. That’s more than most other vegetables."

The French actually grow dandelions in their gardens for consuming. Early settlers from Europe brought dandelions with them and used them as a spring tonic to cure their ills. Dandelions are reported to help with a host of problems including acne, excema, psoriasis, arthritic conditions, and improving gallbladder, kidney, and liver function. With all my research on toxins I'm particularly interested in the fact that dandelions help detox the blood and liver and remove toxins from the body! Dandelions are a diuretic (help the body release excess water) which can help with weight loss and PMS swelling.

For best flavor, pick the leaves when the blossom bud first appears, before the stalk starts to grow. Be sure not to pick dandelions that have been poisoned with chemicals or are growing too near a road where they will be contaminated. You can serve the greens as a fresh salad, make a coffee drink from the roots, make dandelion tea, or fry the blossoms.

We picked some dandelions from our yard today and fried them! I hate frying anything in oil, so I'm not sure why I decided to do this. After I dripped a bit of oil on the burner and it burst into a small flame I screamed for my hubby to come finish the frying. Lucy tried one or two and decided that she didn't like them. Julia put one in her mouth but spit it out when she tasted the mushy dandelion inside. (She is fussy about food textures.) The dandelion blossoms didn't have a bad flavor but I didn't care for the mushiness of them on the inside. We'll probably make a tradition of frying dandelions once a year in the spring just for fun anyway. I'm planning to add dandelions to our salads as much as I can this spring and I told my husband that I'm putting him on a dandelion detox. I'm considering trying to make him some tea to drink daily for a week or so. We're also going to try using the juice from a dandelion stem to cure a corn on his foot, another dandelion remedy that I read about.

Check out the links below and then take your kids outside to pick dandelions for dinner! Let me know how it goes.

Fried Dandelions recipe
Dandelion Salad hot recipe
Article on dandelions
Health benefits of dandelions
More health benefits and info on dandelion tea


  1. i knew they had to be healthy :) we'll have to try them sometime, although I think i may have already when i was a kid :) :) thanks for the tip!

  2. Never knew people could eat dandelions! WOW! Very cool posting.. Love your blog