DO NOT DISLIKE
(Besides the fact that they look like pretty yellow polka
dots in a green lawn!)
The Health Benefits of Dandelions
Dandelion has been used throughout history to
treat everything from liver problems and kidney
disease to heartburn and appendicitis.
Every part of this common weed – from the roots to the blossoms –
is edible. It’s a good thing too, as the humble dandelion is bursting with
vitamins A, B, C and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium and zinc.
Some benefits of eating your weeds:
The leaves boast more
beta carotene than carrots, meaning they are
great for healthy
The greens also provide 535%
of the recommended daily value of vitamin K, which is vital for strengthening
bones and preventing cognitive decline.
study showed that dandelion root tea may
induce leukemia cells to die. Researchers reported that the tea didn’t send
the same ‘kill’ message to healthy cells.
The plant is a
diuretic that helps the kidneys clear out
waste, salt and excess water by increasing urine production – perhaps the
reason that European children’s lore claims
you will wet the bed if you pick the flowers!
With such a rich nutrient load, the plant is filled with
antioxidants – which may help stave off premature aging, cancer, and other
illnesses caused by oxidative stress.
Animal studies discovered
that dandelion root and leaf manages cholesterol levels.
Research also shows that
dandelion extract boosts immune function and fights off microbes.
Dandelion can also help the
digestive system according
to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Fresh or dried dandelion can stimulate the appetite and settle the stomach
while the root of the plant may act as a mild laxative.
24 Remarkable Uses for Dandelions In the Kitchen
Because the entire plant is edible there are a myriad of ways in
which you can use dandelion for culinary purposes.
Sautéed Greens and Garlic
With their rich mineral and vitamin
content, dandelion greens are a healthy addition to any meal. Sautéing with garlic (or
ginger or capers) adds flavor and negates some of the bitterness often
associated with these leaves. Blanching them by immersing them in boiling water
for 20 to 30 seconds helps reduce this acrid taste. Avoid the very mature leaves
as these can be too unpleasant for some. This double
garlic and greens recipe is a delicious one.
Dandelion Pumpkin Seed Pesto
This nutritious pesto is perfect for a
simple pasta, sandwich spread or veggie dip. Because the dandelion greens have a
slight bite, the toasted pumpkin seeds, lemon juice and parmesan are vital to
bring balance. Here is how
you make it.
Fried dandelion flowers, first dipped in
seasoned batter, make a tasty, attractive and novel snack or side dish. By
removing all the bitter green parts, you’re left with the mild-tasting and
faintly sweet blossoms. Follow this
Enjoy increased wellbeing by using this
herbal vinegar on salads, in dressings, soups, stews and sauces or by simply
mixing with water and drinking as a revitalizing tonic. Infuse dandelion flowers
cider vinegar for four weeks, strain and store
in a dark place for up to twelve months. These steps outline how
to make the infusion.
Cook the flowers and make them into a
jewel-like vegetarian risotto. While the dandelions add visual appeal and a mild
sweet taste, the onion, wine, stock, creamy yogurt and parmesan lend a rich,
deep flavor and smooth texture. The Vegetarian Society inspired
recipe can be found here.
Instead of the traditional spicy and sour
Korean kimchi which is made with cabbage, this foraged alternative uses
dandelion greens. Eat your way to good gut
health by fermenting the greens with herbs,
spices, green onions and soy sauce, as outlined
in this recipe.
These soaked muffins, made with whole wheat
flour, oatmeal, honey and dandelion petals are perfect for serving with Spring
time soups such as asparagus or green pea. Learn how
to make them here.
Make a delicious iced treat from freshly
picked dandelion blossoms, sugar, honey and
lemon juice. It’s perfect for a summer’s day in the garden, or served after one
of the many dandelion-inspired main meals here! You’ll find
the recipe here.
This delicate jelly is delicious and sweet
as honey. Use it on top of toast, crumpets or anything else that takes your
fancy. It keeps in an airtight container for up to two weeks – but it definitely
won’t last that long! Follow Martha
Pancake and Waffle Syrup
Love pancake syrup
but want to avoid the sickly sweet store-bought variety, which is loaded with
nasty artificial additives and preservatives? Then this is the recipe for you!
It’s made with just three ingredients – dandelions, lemon and sugar or honey.
process is described here.
Dandelion Blossom Cake
A sweet, delicious and slightly tropical
cake made with dandelion syrup, blossom petals, cinnamon,
crushed pineapple, walnuts and coconut, this is sure to be a hit with the whole
here to go to the recipe.
Another sweet dandelion based treat, these
healthy lemony cookies include organic local honey and oats. The easy-to-follow
recipe is found here.
Dandelion Root Coffee
As we’ve found out, no part of the humble
dandelion has to go to waste. After you’ve sautéed the greens, and used the
blossoms in your dessert, hang onto the roots and brew a caffeine-free
alternative to coffee.
Roast them before grinding for a deep, earthy flavor. Discover exactly
what to do here.
Iced Lime and Dandelion Tea
This pretty iced lime and dandelion tea is
so good even the kids will love it. It’s also refreshing, natural and has many
skin promoting properties. Blend a quart of dandelion flowers with fresh lime
juice, stevia leaves or other sweetener, and dried red raspberry leaf. Learn how
to make this
healing tea here.
Surprisingly, these pesky weeds can make a
fine country wine –
rich, strong and medium sweet. Head out into the countryside (or backyard) with
a gallon container and collect enough complete flowers to loosely fill it.
Ferment these with water, lemon zest and raisins for a couple of months before
enjoying. The full wine making process is detailed
Danish Schnapps – Two Ways
If country wine isn’t your thing, perhaps a
Danish schnapps sounds more appealing? Make it with the flower heads for a
fresh, aromatic and mildly sweet taste which goes well with chocolate, sweet
desserts and cakes. Or, for a dry, spicy and very aromatic drink, brew it with
the roots. Enjoy the schnapps on its own or serve with roast meat and other
robust flavors. The recipes
can be found here.
For Health and Beauty
Dandelion’s properties extend beyond the dinner table – they can
also be harnessed to reduce pain and inflammation, and treat minor skin
Pain Relieving Oil
Dandelions are one of the most useful
plants to reduce
joint pain and aching muscles. Infuse the
flowers in an oil and rub onto sore muscles and joints, or anywhere pain
strikes. To make, simply fill a small mason jar with fresh dandelion flowers and
pour in a base oil – like sweet almond or olive – until the jar is full. Leave
to infuse in a warm place for two weeks before straining the oil and decanting
into a sterilized jar. Store in the fridge.
Pain Relieving Salve
For a more portable version of the pain
relieving oil, go one step further and turn the infusion into a soothing balm –
ideal for carrying in your purse or gym bag, or keeping in the car or office.
Create a double boiler and blend beeswax with the infused oil. Pour this mixture
into a jar or tin and allow to cool before using. Exact measurements and instructions
These therapeutic lotion bars help the
toughest cases of cracked, dry skin by adding moisture and alleviating
inflammation and soreness. If you’re an avid
gardener, or frequently do very manual work, rub the bar over your hands several
times a day. It’s a lot less messy than salve! Blend infused dandelion oil with
beeswax, shea butter and lavender essential oil for a silky, smooth healing bar.
The full process is detailed
Dandelions are a natural wart remover. You’ve probably noticed
that the roots, stems and leaves of the plant exude a white sticky resin – this
is the secret weapon against warts. Apply this sap directly onto warts once, or
several times, per day and they should soon disappear.
In the Home and Garden
Use dandelions to add a pop of color to your home, or some much
needed nutrients to the garden.
Floating Table Centerpiece
Make a stunning and chic dandelion
centerpiece simply using reclaimed wood and small nails. Assemble a box from the
wood, hammer small finishing nails through the underside, and slide handpicked
dandelions on top – creating a centerpiece that appears to be floating. Find
Natural Yellow Dye
Cook dandelion heads for an all-natural
alternative to chemical-based dyes – which can contribute to water
pollution. This is an especially useful tip for
those who weave their own wool but can be used on any garment. Here is how
you can use the dye to brighten up your
A liquid fertilizer, or ‘weed tea’ is
simple to make and will give your garden a boost of nutrients. Deep rooted
dandelions are especially valuable weeds as they are so nutritious. Since you
can’t toss them into the compost pile as their seeds are still viable, brew up
this organic fertilizer instead and pour or spray it onto flower beds and
vegetable gardens. Here is the simple
process for making the fertilizer.
Feed Your Goats
If you keep goats then you’ll know that
they need a diverse, vegetarian diet.
Use your unwanted dandelion weeds to form a portion of that balanced diet.
Research has shown that animals choose what
to eat based on their individual nutritional
needs so if you simply leave the dandelions for the goats, they’ll most likely
munch on them and save you the job of weeding!
Save Some For The Bees!
Dandelions are the first food of the season for the bees. When
picking the dandelions, make sure not to claim them all for yourself. Leave
enough for the bees to enjoy.