The Delight of the Dandelion

dandelion

Do you have a joyful little yellow flower sprouting on your lawn? The one I’m referring to is a couple of centimeters wide. It’s fluffy and has a cheerful, bright color. It’s commonly considered to be a weed, but it’s actually incredibly useful, if a little bitter. What plant am I talking about? The dandelion, of course!

Today I walked over to our local recreation center and took a shortcut through the forest. I met a woman with a whole fistful of dandelion leaves. “Making salad?” I asked her. She looked surprised and nodded, then proceeded to tell me about her plan to make the greens into egg and dandelion dumplings. “They’re so good for you,” she said. We ran into each other over the course of the morning, she with her growing pile of dandelions and me with my shrinking list of errands.

Dandelions are a little bitter, but the leaves are lovely in a spring salad. Choose new leaves for a less bitter taste. Take apart the cheery yellow tops, and they are good in fritters or pancakes too! You can also use the root of the dandelion and make into creative concoctions like roasted dandelion root coffee, should you feel the urge. Dandelions are supposed to be good for your liver, your cholesterol, and your iron levels. And we spend money to spray this plant and constant hours digging it from our lawns.

Weeds can tell us a lot about our yards, and many of them are quite beneficial. For example, clover moves nitrogen into poor soil. Violas are lovely and edible. And we all know that buttercups are very useful for rubbing under the chin to make a yellow beard! As with any edible wild plant, make sure that you properly identify dandelions before eating them. Have you eaten dandelions? Have any recipes to share?

(Image courtesy of berhtythul at stock exchange)

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