Ever since reading the novel Dandelion Wine in grade school, I’ve been rather curious about the culinary history of this common garden plant. Many consider it a weed, others think it has magical seeds that grant wishes when blown, however, what few realize is that it has been a medicinal healing plant for centuries.
Some like dandelion root as a tea, and it’s also sometimes made into a tincture or supplement. Dandelion is also known to be very rich in vitamins C and K and beta-carotene, and additionally a good source of calcium and iron. Traditionally it is known as a liver tonic, so drinking a tea that has dandelion flowers blended with it makes sense for those looking to take better care of the liver. Many folks make pancakes with the flowers, and interesting salads and all sorts of wild recipes with the leaves.
One tangy recipe includes blending organic olive oil, garlic and pine nuts, plus dandelion and arugula leaves, with salt and pepper to taste for a spicy and fresh take on the usual basil pesto. I’ve tried this and it is superb!
While most health food stores will have the salad greens in season all year round, if they are not in season where you live, try a dried tea or tincture instead.
Above image of a dandelion field in Finland is in the public domain.