Foraging for dandelions is easy, they taste good, and they’re good for you. What’s not to love?
Dandelions were probably one of the first flowers each of us picked as a child. Nobody seems to fuss when you pick a bouquet of them, and they’re generally quite plentiful. Yet, you were probably unaware of their nutritional value! Mhm, instead of eating them, they probably wilted on your mother’s table until she tossed them out. (no, she didn’t keep them forever like she promised she would. Us mom’s do not have the storage space for every flower every gifted to us. LOL)
Packed full of vitamin A, folate, vitamin K, and vitamin C (in its raw form), and a good source of calcium and potassium, dandelions ought to be a staple of every forager’s diet.
Did you know that just one cup of raw dandelion greens contains 112% of your daily required intake of vitamin A and 535% of vitamin K? Cool, huh?
They are excellent for having in your garden! The root of the dandelion is a long taproot that brings up nutrients to other nearby plants. So, resist the urge to uproot them the instance they appear. Your other plants will thank you 🙂
Before going any further, there is one very important subject we must address:
Dandelions are often the first flowers to present themselves in the spring season. So please do not harvest all of them before other flowers emerge. Being mindful in this fashion is an excellent way to make sure we are doing our part to save the bees.
If we don’t have bees, then we don’t have food. Period. Not being mindful shouldn’t seem like an option to anyone. Slow down and consider your actions. Do not wipe the forest floor clean of the spring’s first dandelions to harvest 5 lbs of dried tea roots.
Where you Can Find Dandelions (Habitat)
Virtually everywhere. From the forest to the most cultivated of fields, not spying a dandelion is a rarity. You probably already knew that, though 🙂
Flowering from early spring to late autumn, finding yourself some dandelions in a remote area is most often an easy task. I quite enjoy offering to weed friends and families gardens, and taking these babies home with me.
How to Harvest
Gently detach the leaves by pinching them near the stem, or use siccors to cut them. Remember to leave the flowers until other plants start making an appearance in the spring. Once other flowers appear for the bees, feel free to snip the yellow flower off. Wait until fall to harvest the roots (as you should with any root) so that the flower has plenty of opportunities to re-bloom during the spring and summer.
Uses for Dandelions
With edible, medicinal, and fermentable qualities, there is no shortage of ways to utilize dandelions!
The leaves, root, stem and flower are all edible.
- Dandelion leaves can be eaten raw, added to a salad or cooked.
- The leaves can be dried & stored for the winter, or blanched & frozen.
- Flowers can be made into juice, or added into many recipes.
- The root can be made into a coffee substitute.
- The root and leaves can be dried, stored and made into tea.
- Dandelion mead can be made using the flower petals.
- I recommend pairing dandelion greens with bacon, goat cheese, nuts and lemon to complement the taste. MMM!
Just a Reminder
Dandelions are pretty unmistakable. So, I’d like to utilize this space to reinforce the importance of harvesting dandelions ethically: Leave the blooms for the bees in the early spring. They need them more than we do.
Share your favorite recipes & uses below in the comments!!