Growing and Using Dandelions
The Useful Dandelion
While dandelions may be the nemesis to the gardener in pursuit of the perfect and unblemished green lawn, for centuries they've been used as edible and medicinal herbs. This hub is going to talk about the edible uses.
First and foremost, the dandelion is a delicious green leaf which can easily be made into a salad. It's low on calories but provides a good source of Vitamins A, C and E, and contains healthy amounts of Magnesium, Folate, dietary fiber and Potassium.
The most important thing to remember when eating dandelion greens is to make sure they are from an organic source. They are easy to grow, but you have to remember to only use fertilizers that are safe for foods intended for human consumption. If you put regular ol' fertilizer on your lawn, don't eat those dandelions!
Dandelions can be eaten raw (salad greens) or cooked with other foods, or even used to make liquers and wine!
Dandelion: weed or edible?
- Sauteed Dandelion Greens Recipe at Epicurious.com
Find the recipe for Sauteed Dandelion Greens and other recipes at Epicurious.com
- Dandelion Fritters
I bet you didn't know you could make fritters from dandelion blossoms, did you?
- Dandelion Soup Made with Tofu
A lovely vegetable and tofu soup.
- The Herbwife's Kitchen - Dandelion recipes: Italian-style greens.
Simple greens, Italian-style. My favorite way to eat dandelions.
Try Some Dandelion Cordial
The Cordial Process...
Making Dandelion Liquer
A liquer is when a plain alcohol is sweetened and flavored with herbs. In some parts of the world they are also called cordials or aperitifs. Making your own dandelion liqeur is very easy.
Although the recipe calls for baker's sugar, you can use unrefined sugar, organic honey or even agave syrup. For the honey or agave, you might want to reduce the amount used as those can both taste sweeter than refined sugar. You'll get a nice dark color from using the honey but it will take more time for it to dissolve in the alcohol so be prepared to age it longer before serving.
Your liquer can be served room temperature or slightly chilled. I like to serve it in aperitif glasses over just a tiny bit of finely-crushed ice. In very hot weather you can also put it in the freezer for about a half hour before serving.
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Ingredients for Dandelion Liquer
- 1-2 C. fresh dandelion blossoms, just the tops
- 1/2 C. baker's sugar, or honey
- one lemon, Meyer or Ponderosa are best
- 1 quart vodka
- 1 empty glass jar with tight-fitting lid, quart size
Instructions for making your own Dandelion Liquer
- I like to pick my dandelions fresh for this recipe. Mid-day on a nice sunny day is best as the flowers are open and aren't wet with dew. You'll want large blossoms with healthy, unwilted petals. Pick off any stems, leaves at the bottom of the flowers and shake off any bugs.
- Take the lemon and cut a strip of the peel. This will add a touch of flavor to the liquer so if you really like lemon, cut a long piece.
- Put the dandelions, sugar and lemon peel into the glass jar.
- Fill the jar almost to the top with vodka, leaving just a touch of shaking room.
- Screw on the lid and shake the jar vigorously.
- Keep the jar in a dark, cool place for three weeks and give it a good shake daily. After just about a day, the fluid will turn yellow and over time it may even turn darker gold.
- When the three weeks is up, strain out all the blossoms and lemon peel. I like to pour the mix through a strainer to catch the really big stuff and then again through a coffee filter to catch the tiny bits.
- Bottle into clean glass bottle that has a tight cork or top. Then store your liquor in a cool, dark spot like a basement or even in the refrigerator.
Dandelion Liquers and Wine
- winemaking: Dandelion Wines
Thirty recipes for dandelion wines.
- Dandelion Schnapps - Recipes
Dandelion schnapps made from the flower heads has a fresh and very aromatic taste. Made from the roots you get another kind of schnapps - dry and spicy with a pleasant bitter taste.
- Dandelion Cordial
This recipes uses lemons and oranges for flavor and makes a very big batch.
It doesn't take much to get a dandelion patch going but in case you'd reallly like to grow more of your own, here are a few tips.
Pick a sunny spot. Dandelions definitely prefer sun to shade, although partial sun can work too.
Use only organic gardening treatments and methods so that you know your dandelions are safe to eat.
Don't pick off all the blossoms so that they can re-seed themselves. If you blow the fuzzy crowns yourself they'll seed where you want them and not just all over the yard.
Pick off outer leaves to use for salad greens and new ones will form from the center of the plant.
Cooking with Dandelions
- Dandelion: The Accidental Vegetable
Cultivating dandelions has long been practiced for food and medicine. All parts of the plant (except the seeds) can be used.
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