Eat Those Dandelions

Tonight we foraged in our yard. At least partly.

The menu this evening was quiche made with dandelion greens, fresh basil that has been growing in a pot in our living room since February, and eggs from our chickens. Thanks are due to one of my friends, who recommended blanching the leaves. Last time I tried this, they were so bitter I couldn’t eat them. The keys to dandelion greens are:

  1. Gather your greens from a location that isn’t sprayed.
  2. Pick the smallest leaves, preferably from plants that doesn’t have flowers yet.
  3. Wash them really well.
  4. Blanch before stirfrying or adding to any recipe that you would make with spinach or other bitter greens.
  5. You might want to taste them first, as my husband just looked over my shoulder and said, “I still thought that they were too bitter.” Taste being what it is.

We also had a pot of dandelion coffee with our meal. (The link goes to the directions we followed to turn a weed into a coffee substitute.)

We also had the last rhubarb out of the freezer for dessert, just in time for replenishing. Spring is a’comin. I even was so brave as to plant pepper seeds in the coldframe this afternoon and weed around the (wee baby) asparagus shoots. I may have eaten one of them directly off the plant. Shhh… don’t tell my family.

In about two weeks, the dandelions will have completely taken over the front yard, so it’s a good thing that we have learned how to turn them into a food source. As it happens, they are also the most important early food source for the bees. We have attempted to make wine from them, but we haven’t had success in recent years, largely due to neglect of the wine-making. I’m hoping that someday, when my bees become plentiful and productive, and I’m making honey wine, I’ll be able to try the dandelion wine again.

And in the meantime, a song about dandelions! (I *think* it always plays the Dandelion song when the page loads. Otherwise, you can pick it from the dropdown list on the left side. Also, she’s on tour right now, check the listings!)

5 responses to “Eat Those Dandelions”

  1. My mom used to regularly put dandelion greens in our salads. I always thought they were too bitter and too woody for my taste, but recently I’ve thought about adding them to my “green monster” smoothies in place of spinach. The smoothie is about 65% fruit and 35% greens, and the fruit masks the flavor of the greens so I’d guess that dandelion greens would be an acceptable alternative.
    I’m interested in the dandelion coffee…

    • The coffee is. A lot. Of work.
      I set out to sell it at the farmer’s market when I started making it, but with the digging, and the cleaning, and the roasting, and all, it takes about 4 hours to turn a wheelbarrow full of dandelions into a 1 L mason jar of dried root. Worth it for my own use, but well beyond what would constitute a reasonable price.

      Did I mention the digging?

  2. I’ve been trying to get brave and eat some dandelions. I was also trying to convince my facebook friends to decide they are pretty and utilitarian. 🙂

  3. Hey sister! You are amazing! We were trying to decide what to do with a sudden surfeit of basil, and since my garden beds are full of tiny dandelions I’m off to harvest some and make a quiche. Mmm, eggs… mmm, cooked food… (my last sprout smoothie was not delicious)