Dandelions: One of nature's SUPERFOOD
If you ever skipped around in your backyard as a child, you probably experienced patches of yellow flowers your parents referred to as weeds. When I grew up, we were always tasked to get rid of them, but those little resilient bright pops of sunshine would just return again throughout most of the year. Little did we know we had backyard access to a wonderfully natural SUPERFOOD the entire time.
Dandelions are a wild flower that are taken from the French word “dent de lion” meaning lion's tooth, referring to the coarsely-toothed leaves. They are believed to have been brought over by the Pilgrims who planted the herb as a medicinal crop. Dandelions actually have a well-documented history of being used to detoxify the body, support liver function, and treat all sorts of stomach, skin and inflammatory issues.
In addition to being a source of pollen and nectar for pollinators, Dandelions are edible all the way from root to flower petals. The root of Dandelions can be ground to make tea or coffee (thought bitter, so you will most likely need to add creamer) or be cooked much like a turnip.
The leaves of Dandelions are filled with nutrients, such as Vitamin A, C and K. They also contain Vitamin E, folate and offer significant amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. In fact, Dandelion greens contain more vitamins, dietary fiber and even protein compared to the popular leafy green Kale! While the leaves can be slightly bitter raw, Dandelion can be easily steamed and prepared so the bitterness is balanced, but the beauty is that they nutrients aren't lost when cooked.
So next time you're in your yard, don't simply dispose of these sunshine-y "weeds." Instead, gather those beneficial beauties and incorporate them in recipes. You can also make them into fritters - see recipe below.
- Dip freshly picked, cleaned and drained Dandelions (make sure they have not been sprayed with pesticides) into a bowl of seasoned flour, plant milk and corn meal (blended). Seasonings are your choice
- Make sure the flower is entirely covered with flour mix.
- In skillet heating with oil of choice, place the coated Dandelion in pan until brown on each side.
- Let cool by setting on paper towel (to all any excess oil to get absorbed).
- Serve immediately as a side or just enjoy as a snack.