Spring field with dandelions.

Dandelion Recipes

Dandelions have been used in herbal medicine for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The benefits of this common plant will probably surprise you.

Health Benefits of Dandelions

For instance, ½ cup of dandelions contains more calcium than a glass of milk, and more iron than spinach. One cup of dandelion greens contains 19 mg of Vitamin C, and the leaves contain more Vitamin A than carrots. And if you need some Vitamin K in your life, there’s no better source than dandelion leaves; 55 mg of leaves contain a whopping 535% of your daily value

Dandelions are also incredibly high in antioxidants, and because they are a diuretic, they help cleanse your body of toxins. So, are you convinced yet? This sunny little weed is awesome, and I look forward to harvesting them every year. So how exactly do you do it?

How to Harvest Dandelions

Although dandelions grow through the fall, the best time to harvest dandelions is in the spring. Dandelions get bitter the older they get, so if you can pluck them young you’re going to experience a sweeter flavor. However, I ate dandelion leaves all last spring and summer, and enjoyed them all.

Now when it comes to harvesting, you want to try to pick the youngest leaves, which will be located on the inside of the growth. The oldest (and bitterest) leaves will always be on the outside. You’ll get the best greens from dandelions that haven’t yet produced a yellow flower.

Now, there are a few words of warning about harvesting dandelions.

  Never harvest any dandelions close to a road. They can pick up pollution.
  Never harvest dandelions from an industrial lot, or any space where past pollution might have been an issue.
  Never harvest dandelions from a yard where pesticides and fertilizers have been used.

Dandelion Greens & Red Potato Salad Recipe

Dandelion and Red Potato Salad 1 lb baby red potatoes
1 large bunch of dandelion greens
1 head of chicory
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can white kidney beans, rinsed
Zest and juice of a lemon
2 T. ricotta
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil potatoes until tender. Drain and slice in half. Set aside.

2. While potatoes boil, trim ends of dandelion greens and chicory. Rinse well (but do not dry) and cut into large pieces. Heat oil in a large skillet and add garlic, stirring just until golden. Add the greens and sauté just until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Add the white kidney beans and boiled potatoes to the skillet. Toss contents together and then add lemon zest, juice and ricotta. Toss contents again to evenly coat. Taste and adjust alt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve either warm or chilled.

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