Is there any weed in your garden that you can eat from the root to the flower and beyond? A weed which you can use in any single part?
Seasonal weeds are amazing but very often only certain parts of the plant are eatable or taste nice. Here is instead a common plant that anybody knows and recognizes, which has wonderful and DIFFERENT properties in its different parts.
I am talking about Dandelion. Join me and meet this amazing weed. No matter how much you know about it already, I am sure I will learn something new.
For recipes just scroll down…
For recipes just scroll down…
Dandelion or “Taraxacum officinale”(Botan.) comes from the greek terms Taraxos and Achos which combined mean “remedy for disorder”.
Dandelion is indeed a remedy for a big variety of disorders. Among them I want to name digestive, skin, blood disorders but many others could be added to that list.
As many herbalists before me, I think that very often the shape of a medicinal plant recalls its pharmacognosy, meaning the way they therapeutically act with in our body.
Those of you who has tried to remove a dandelion root from their garden know even too well that dandelion root can go very deeply into the soil and so is its body action.
Dandelion like many others liver supporting plants, like Burdock, have very deep roots and work their way slowly but steadily. They work deeply (like their root) into your body soothing and relieving disorders that are at the base of most skin and digestive conditions.
They “purify” the blood by expelling toxins through the urine and by supporting the liver which is the organ delegated to detoxify the body. But this is not the only similarity dandelion has with the way it acts within the body.
Dandelion can grow anywhere because it is able to adapt to the majority of soils. It creates drainage channels in compacted soils, restore mineral health to abused soils and attract earthworms in all soils. And so it does to our body: it restore its balance.
However, to do it, dandelion needs to be used consistently for a moderate long period, like three months or more in some severe cases, because it acts at the roots of disorders and not symptomatically.
But now, lets talk about how we can use dandelion and its different parts:
Roots are the most medicinally potent part of the plant, especially if harvested in late autumn where the energy of the plant drives back to roots.
It is a wonderful liver ally and it affects it very profoundly by encouraging its juices and by strengthening and nourishing its ability to help you fight external toxins. It is also a bitter, and as every other bitter, it is a choagogue, meaning it helps digestion and it is a wonderful ingredients in DIY bitters.
The leaves instead address mostly the kidneys and their purifying action. They are less bitter than the root but they are high in minerals and a wonderful treat for breastfeeding mothers.
The tender leaves can be used as a salad, while the harder and more bitter leaves can be used boiled in seasonal blends of greens.
The flowers and especially the petals are the only part of the plant which is not bitter at all. They are emollient and a very gentle cardio-tonic. They have pleasant taste and therefore it is possible to use them in a huge amount of dishes.
The flower bud:
The buds of the flowers can be pickled as used they same way as capers. Even the seed heads can be pickled and used the same way or marinated in oil with garlic and salt.
The dandelion heart:
A very delicious part of dandelion that not many are aware of, is what are called “dandelion hearts”, which are those buds attached to the rosette base from which the plant is sprouting.
The dandelion heart is made up of the dandelion stem and a young bud stems up to two-three cm.
He suggests to slice them lengthwise and saute` them, or to boil them if too bitter for you. In general he always advise to taste them for bitterness and if too much to boil them in order to remove most of it.
Well, according to the biologist John Callas, PhD in nutrition, these dandelion hearts are some of the most nutritive and delicious greens you can have in your plate. Maybe is time to give it a try?
What about the stems?
Those long stalks that cannot be used for dinner are actually quite innovative and sustainable straws, that you can use to drink your favorite cool summer drinks.
But now, let’s enjoy dandelion with some super easy spring recipes:
This recipe belongs to the american herbalist, Susan Weed.
She is an interesting character, I have to admit, but she definitely knows a big deal about herbs and traditional uses.
Here is her Dandelion Dip from the book Healing Wise: (serves for 2 for dinner) Ingredients: 60 ml yogurt, 125 cottage cheese, 250 dandelion greens, garlic powder and salt to taste.
Combine all ingredient in the blender and then season with garlic and salt. Serve with corn chips.
The other one I want to share with you today is a classic Dandelion Pesto.
This delicious alternative was invented and diffused by the french herbalist Rosalee De La Foret.
She is lovely and her recipes are always impeccable.
Ingredients for about 300 g of pesto: 80 g of pine nuts, 3 garlic cloves, minced, 150 g of young dandelion leaves, 1 Tbs of lemon juice and 1 Tbs of lemon zest, 60 ml of extra-virgin olive oil, half a ts of sea salt, 1 ts of turmeric powder, half a ts of freshly ground black pepper, 60 g of freshly grated Parmesan.
Blend the all thing and enjoy.
Recipes with dandelion are so many ad I cannot wait to try them all.
I encourage you to try some of them and to write if you have any question. I would love to hear from you.
For more dandelion recipes, I encourage you to follow my Instagram “theherbalgeek”.