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Dandelion Greens

dandelion greens guy

Dandelion greens are the most nutritious leafy vegetable that you can buy (see chart below). Foraged greens are the first spring vegetable, they come on even earlier than asparagus, and they make a great spring tonic. But do enjoy them year round as a kitchen remedy and tasty green. Reflect on how their resilience hints of their prowess: no matter how many tons of chemicals are dumped onto suburban lawns to kill them, dandelions reign.

Dandelions support digestion, reduce swelling and inflammation, and treat viruses, jaundice, edema, gout, eczema and acne. This sunflower relative boasts potent medicinal properties with laxative and diuretic properties (its French name, pissenlit, wet the bed, aptly names its effectiveness). More of their–and other foods’–medicinal properties, are listed in The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia.

Cultivated dandelion greens from the store are less bitter than the wild ones, but in both cases nibble on a leaf to ascertain it’s bitterness and gage how much to include in your dish. Today many markets carry dandelion greens. If your favorite market does not, be proactive; ask the manager to carry them; or find a market in your area that boasts a wider produce variety.

Better yet, forage them yourself. Of course, foraging dandelions enables you to enjoy dandelion crowns. I’ve heard the cooked crowns described as “…homely as a mess of toads on the plate.” But, don’t let that put you off. dandelionCrowns

Look close and you can see three “crowns” in the the accompanying photo. They sit atop the dandelion’s taproot and include multiple nascent buds and the earliest—and therefore most tender—leaves. Every spring, I feast upon these succulent, buttery soft, bittersweet morsels. Dandelion crowns are a treat that money can’t buy.

How I love foraging. In addition to the anticipation of the upcoming feast, there’s the thrill of the find, the pleasure of piling a basket with freely given gifts and a feeling of inter-relatedness that being outdoors engenders. Indeed, foraging is humankind’s oldest profession.

Brush away the protective blanket of last year’s foliage and a scant layer of soil to expose dandelion crowns. Bypass leaves from plants that have gone to flower. Here’s why: as the energy moves up to the blossom, the greens becomes quite bitter and would require several blanching baths to be toothsome. The flowers, however, may be used to make wine or Honey-Preserved Blossom Spread. Please note: do not gather dandelions from public trails, roadsides or any chemically-tainted area including treated lawns.

Back home with the goods, I pick over my haul and discard extraneous grasses. I’ll sauté the crowns (and/or leaves) with an onion and garlic and season with a pinch of sea salt and few grinds of fresh pepper.

Dandelion greens are excellent in a salad, or strip the stems and use in any cooked dish as you would bok choy or kale. The bittersweet root is typically used as a coffee substitute and in herbal tonics. In ten minutes foraging, I gathered a nice mess of crown jewels—and I left plenty for you.

1 cup raw Vit. A
Daily Value
Vit. K
Daily Value
Calcium
Daily Value
Iron
Daily Value
Dandelion Greens 2712 IU
54%
151 mcg
188%
103 mg
10%
1.7 mg
9%
Broccoli 581 IU
12%
89.4 mcg
112%
41.4 mg
4%
0.6 mg
4%

May you be well nourished,

Rebecca Wood

Related

28 comments to Dandelion Greens

  • […] side), Adele made these panino for her husband and famiglia years ago using sauteed fresh chicory (dandelion greens) that have a strong bitter bite, fitting in perfectly in this […]

  • […] Article by Rebecca Wood on Benefits of Dandelion Greens […]

  • Stef

    Just found some today at Martin’s/(aka Giant) supermarket in Virginia

  • can u buy dandelions frozen in the grocery dept.

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  • Valentine

    Pregnancy and postpartum support (leaves and root) In folk medicine, Dandelion is also used as a treatment for hemorrhoids, gout, rheumatism, eczema, other skin conditions, and diabetes. Its effectiveness for these problems has not, however, been verified.

  • Rebecca, As a child I remember my mother picking dandelion
    greens and cooking them into a nasty pulp. But now that I’m
    an adult, I love steaming different greens. My question is,
    can I use dandelion greens with other vegs in my blender to
    use as my health drink and secondly, can I freeze these greens for winter to use in blender for my drink. Thank you.

    • Yes, you can blend dandelion greens, but taste them first and add accordingly as some are quite bitter.

      Yes, you can freeze them, but why? Once any veggie is frozen it flavor and energetic properties are compromised. For myself, I enjoy the greens in season. Then I go without and when the next season rolls around, it’s a fresh delight!

  • Dr. Rogers

    FYI

    Albertson’s now carries dandelion greens…

  • were can i buy dandelion greens because i have looked all over and can not find them were i live and i live in Zanesville ohio

  • Rebecca, thanks so much…I know these greens are good for my 0 blood type and your info and the posted recipes are quite helpful…Keep up the good work!!! Grazie mille!!!

  • Janna

    thanks for the insightful article. I’ve been eating the little french Lion (dandylion) for years from my non-sprayed yard. For winter use, I collect them thru the spring and summer, and dry extra ones on my dehydrator trays, and store in glass jars. Then I crush the leaves and put them in stews, as added nutrients. and thanks for the new recipees on your page. Good….. yummmm.

  • [...] blanching the leaves briefly. Both the leaves and the roots can be used. Another early bird is Dandelion. I use the leaves in salads or cooked dishes that call for greens. The roots I wash with a [...]

  • james camp

    I use finely chopped washed and dandelion greens on
    our veggie tacos fine sliced onion big pinch of cheese
    in soft fried corn tortillas with 2 teaspoons tomato sauce
    PS (I can’t take the GMO tomatoes in winter.

    James Camp

  • jeannine

    Hello,

    I’ve heard about dandelions being edible and tasted dandelion wine years ago (Not bad, btw). I had no idea that it’s better for you than brocolli!

    So in addition to wanting to eat more healthy foods, I have a ton of dandelions in my yard. My front yard has not been chemically treated. I thought about it though, because we have such a problem with gophers, (& something attracts them.)

    Anyhow, here are my questions:

    What parts of the dandelion are edible? Is the “crown” the yellow flower? Are we to avoid the leaves of a dandelion that has already flowered, b/c of taste? Also, some of the leaves seem pricklier than others. Once the dandelion has gotten to the stage where we can blow it into the wind, is there anything we should not eat then?

    Are we to aim for the tiny leaves, or do we simply prepare the bigger leaves differently?
    What are the best parts?

    Finally, are there any weeds that grow next to, or along with, dandelions that can get mixed in? Are those bad for us?

    It seems to me that my dandelions are not identical looking. Maybe it’s because they are in different stages. The leaves vary a lot.

    Thanks!

    Any thoughts or answers are appreciated!

  • james kimelton

    Where can I buy dandelion greens? I live in Peoria ,az

  • Sallee Wade

    Thanks so much! I was just out in my yard and intuitively decided to gather some. They’re in the frig as we speak. I wasn’t sure quite how to do them. Now I am. I’ll likely have some tomorrow. I’ll try the crowns too. (I also love lambsquarters. Do you? They’re a great spring greens treat.

  • Love your site…so nice to see that people still eat and forage the way I was raised. My elderly parents still garden organically, and still eat dandelions, pigweed, (don’t know any other name for it), and redroot. They also raise various plants for teas, as my grandmother did, and just recently stopped making their own maple syrup, butter and cheeses. So many people think it is unusual to come from a background like this, I truly wish that it was more common.
    Thank you again for your common sense approach to eating well, and enjoying the gifts that God blessed us with.

  • Kelly

    You can find them in the produce section of markets such as Whole Foods and Fresh Market.

  • Jennifer

    Does anyone know where I can buy dandelion greens? What stores can I find them?

    • JoAnn Caisse

      Whole Foods sells them. Many health food stores also sell them. They are delicious in a salad with a balsamic vinaigrette, craisins, feta cheese, and sliced almonds. Yum!!

    • David H

      I buy dandelion greens at my farmer’s market, as well as the local health food store. My favorite veggie! If your farmer isn’t growing them, just ask; I bet s/he will.

  • Blanca

    Thank you for the recipes and the value of the greens source.

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