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Growing and Using Dandelions

Updated on February 6, 2015
relache profile image

Raye gardens organically, harvests rainwater, strives to eat locally, and honors the gods from her home in the Pacific Northwest.

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?

Learn to think of this plant as more than just a weed on your lawn...
Learn to think of this plant as more than just a weed on your lawn... | Source

The Cordial Process...

Freshly-picked dandelions
Freshly-picked dandelions | Source
De-stemming reduces bitterness
De-stemming reduces bitterness | Source
Jarful of blossoms
Jarful of blossoms | Source
Adding sugar, lemon and vodka
Adding sugar, lemon and vodka | Source
Shake daily to dissolve the sugar
Shake daily to dissolve the sugar | Source

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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Cast your vote for Dandelion Liquer

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Put the dandelions, sugar and lemon peel into the glass jar.
  4. Fill the jar almost to the top with vodka, leaving just a touch of shaking room.
  5. Screw on the lid and shake the jar vigorously.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Cultivating Dandelions

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.

  1. Pick a sunny spot. Dandelions definitely prefer sun to shade, although partial sun can work too.

  2. Use only organic gardening treatments and methods so that you know your dandelions are safe to eat.

  3. 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.

  4. Pick off outer leaves to use for salad greens and new ones will form from the center of the plant.

Cooking with Dandelions

Do you "do" Dandelions?

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    • Didge profile image


      6 years ago from Southern England

      Really attractive and well written.

    • relache profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Seattle, WA

      If you are careful to trim off the green leaves at the base of the dandelion heads, it shouldn't come out bitter.

    • c1234rystal profile image


      7 years ago

      The liquer sounds great! I've tried rose and lavendar flavored foods, but never dandelion. Is it bitter?

    • allisonray profile image


      8 years ago

      Can't wait to try this recipe! Looks easy

    • loveofnight profile image


      8 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      i went out picking a bunch today but i didn't know that i would be using some in a liqueur recipe until i saw this page.......thx 4 share

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I've bought dandelion greens at a local organic supermarket. They were so bitter! Steaming them would probably help.

      Nonetheless, I think dandelions are so pretty and cheerful I want to grow some in my garden this year.

    • robertsloan2 profile image


      9 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Great Hub, you've got all the dandelion recipe basics linked in one place. I always wondered if they'd be good, I might try some of these sometime -- especially the cordial after reading "Dandelion Wine" by Ray Bradbury.

    • skye2day profile image


      9 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Oh my gosh. I love this hub. This is way cool. I will email to my daughter as well. She is a flower 'cook'

      type person. I love your writing., If something keeps me in my attention span ( it is good, like very good ) I usually bounce all over. There are wonderful authors on hub pages. I have a passion for writing. My children, life, career, so on sent writing to the back burner. Now I have been blessed to have 'time' to write. I have my career which is not so good in these times so when I landed on hub pages I thought write and make some income. I feel blessed and honored to be part of hub community. I have improved a great deal in 4 months. I will continue. There is a reason writing was placed on my heart many years ago..I am sure you relate.

      I have 'grown' in ways that astound me. Income not (yet)

      It will get there I know it will and very soon. Keeping the Faith. It only goes up from here. I will check out your tips for income with hubs. I invite you to please read a hub or two of mine. Please comment. A first hubber. It would be fab to be your fan. Be Blessed Richly.

      Your hubber friend

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      10 years ago from San Francisco

      Great stuff - never thought about dandelion liqueur, but it sounds intriguing. Dandelion greens are delicious, though, either raw or cooked. (Cooked, served with mashed fava beans is one of my favorite Mediterranean recipes)

    • Rhym O'Reison profile image

      Rhym O'Reison 

      10 years ago from Crowley, Tx

      I have an abundance of food in my backyard and didn't even know it. As God is my witness, I will never go hungry again!

    • rmr profile image


      10 years ago from Livonia, MI

      When I was a child, my grandfather sent me into the yard every year, with a big paper bag, to collect dandelions for his annual batch of wine. Despite my parents protests, I always got the first sip, when they weren't looking.

      It always amazes me where you can find memories of departed loved ones. Thanks for this one.

    • relache profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Seattle, WA

      You could feed a lot of people dandelion leaves in a salad and they'd never even notice...

    • Whitney05 profile image


      10 years ago from Georgia

      Edible flowers were always added to formal school social functions. You'd usually get just one person to eat them... I was never one of them. :-\

    • Kathryn Vercillo profile image

      Kathryn Vercillo 

      10 years ago from San Francisco

      I love adding lots of different edible flowers to dishes; it brings so much color to the plate! Great hub!

    • relache profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Seattle, WA

      The recipe I use has a lot less sugar than many I've read. You can adjust the sweetness and fruit flavor to taste.

    • johnngd profile image


      10 years ago from Sydney

      Wow Relache - Danelion Liquer sounds fantastic, and it's really healthy! - I'll have to make some.


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