Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are wild, abundant, extremely nutritious, free food!
5 Tips on Harvesting Your Own Dandelion Greens for Peak Flavor
- Pick dandelion greens before the plant flowers; after flowering the greens can have a bitter flavor. Harvest dandelion greens in early spring, before the flowers appear is when they’re the tenderest and least bitter.
- After the first frost in fall is another time when dandelion greens aren’t so bitter. Boiling them will further reduce their bitterness.
- If you wish to have dandelion greens during or after they flower be sure to select only the youngest leaves as they will not be nearly as bitter.
- This recipe calls for the green leafy part of the plant. Be certain to only harvest wild plants in areas that are quite free of chemical pollution and away from roadways and parking areas.
- I prefer to pick-my-own dandelion greens because I have more control over selecting the youngest, best tasting leaves; as compared to those sold in stores, those can be bitter and the texture isn’t so good either, companies just don’t care as much about the quality of my food as I do… so, pick your own for the best [least bitter] flavor!
Dandelion leaves are a well known ‘spring tonic’, used for centuries to cleanse the liver in the springtime after a long winter of eating hard-to-digest foods. Dandelions are one of the most nutritious plants on earth, far more nutritious than all fresh foods on the produce shelf of any store. For those seeking to eat locally, healthfully, and reduce their food miles, dandelions are an excellent addition to the kitchen and diet.
Foraging: Picking the Correct Plant
When foraging for your own wild foods it’s extremely important that you correctly identify the plant. The fact is, some plants can look like others to the novice. For instance, in the Southeast USA there’s a plant called False Dandelion (Pyrrhopappus carolinianus); note the Latin name, it’s completely different than Taraxacum officinale because it’s a different species. Here’s a link to False Dandelion and Common Dandelion (the plant described in this article for eating). Here’s another example, Asiatic Hawksbeard (Youngia japonica).
A good field guide for those new to identifying free wild foods is: Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Sauteed Dandelion Greens Recipe Continue reading “Eat the Weeds: Sauteed Dandelion Greens Recipe” »
Native Plant Landscaper, Gardener, Labyrinth Design, Feng Shui Practitioner, Aromatherapy / Essential Oils, Big Fan of Nature and Living Simply.
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