Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, a common weed, is in fact a treasure trove of vitamins and minerals. We need to be harvesting dandelions instead of weeding them from our yards and gardens. I remember as a child being paid by the bushel for pulling dandelions from my parent’s lawn. I never thought about eating them, though. How things have changed!
Early in the growing season is the perfect time to harvest dandelion leaves for soup or salad. Leaves tossed with a tangy vinaigrette dressing with blue cheese and dates makes a delicious and nutritious salad. The leaves are full of vitamins A, C, D, and B complex as well as a long list of minerals including iron, zinc, manganese, potassium, and magnesium. Dandelion leaves are the richest source of beta carotene of any of the green vegetables.
The roots are chock full of the same vitamins and minerals. However, roots harvested in the fall are a bit sweeter. The dried and roasted roots can be used as a coffee or tea substitute.
Native Americans, Chinese, and Arabian peoples have used dandelion in their medicines for a long time. Western medicine is beginning to study it for medicinal applications, including testing its effectiveness against several drug-resistant cancers.
Everyone remembers blowing on the round, fluffy dandelion seed heads as a child. But do you know the legend behind this popular childhood activity? To discover the legend, you will have to go to The Herb Society of the Month’s Herb of the Month web page and read about dandelion. You will find some very interesting recipes using dandelion here as well. Now is the time to try them out.
For more delightful and informative articles about dandelion, read the dandelion posts on this HSA blog.