Dandelion comes from the French word that means “tooth of the lion” and this week the wild flower has returned by the yard for spring throughout Naperville, sure to blossom until summertime.
The good news is every part of these invasive plants is edible from its yellow flower and green leaves to its white roots. More and more, fine chefs are adding dandelions to dishes, salads and soups for nutritious accents and color.
For starters, dandelions contain vitamins C and B6, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium (builds strong bones), iron (benefits generating red blood cells), potassium (helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure), and manganese.
The flowering plant is a rich source of beta-carotene which our bodies convert into vitamin A.
Other nutrients present in dandelion greens include folate, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and copper.
Every part in the well-washed dandelion (Don’t take risks when picking dandelions. Be sure not to pick or dig up from parks or fields poisoned with insecticides.) is medicinal for better digestion, immune function and mental health.
What’s more, the bitter flavor of the sunny dandelion complements any salad and adds important nutrition to a balanced diet.
How to prepare dandelions
You can blanch the chopped greens by adding them to salted boiling water for 10 minutes, remove and dunk in cold water. Then toss with olive oil, lemon, and salt for a dandy side dish.
Or sauté the leaves with garlic and onion and top with pine nuts and dried fruits.
Or chop dandelion leaves and steep in water for tea.
For best flavor, prepare immediately after picking. Otherwise, refrigerate in a plastic bag and use within 3–5 days. Wash when ready to use.
If you watch the videos linked below, you’ll discover how to tear the leaves into bits and add to a salad— as well as most of the info in this post.
Visit this YouTube presentation for multiple videos about picking, pulling and preparing the pretty weed for good eating, tea and a world of health benefits.