Healthier Than Spinach
Dandelion greens are a springtime treat, and their yellow flowerers are a sure sign of spring. Edible wild greens are excellent for our health. Dandelions are wrongfully thought of as a weed, but they are actually an herb highly praised in holistic medicine for centuries. Wild greens are an important source of phytonutrients and were used by hunter-gatherers of North America as food as well as a source of medicine. When compared to spinach, dandelion leaves have eight times more antioxidants, twice the amount of calcium, three times more vitamin A and five times more vitamins K and E. Iceberg lettuce, for example, has 40% fewer nutrients than dandelion greens.
They Are Food for Bees and People
Dandelions are the only early spring source of food for hungry bees just waking from winter sleep. You can learn more about the importance of bees and honey here. Dandelions are harvested for their roots, which are dried and roasted and made into a tea or coffee substitute. The green leaves can be eaten raw, steamed, stir-fried, or added to soups, and their blooming, yellow flowers can be made into honey. Dandelions have longstanding use in herbal medicine for their bitter taste, just what the body craves after a long winter. Modern humans have managed to remove most bitter flavors from our diet, and as a result, our palates are no longer used to bitter, astringent, or sour tastes. When greens lose their bitter taste, they also lose their calcium content. (Hunger-gatherers had very strong bones, yet they never consumed any milk or dairy. One cup of dandelion greens has as much calcium as half a glass of milk). Dandelion leaves are an excellent source of calcium and are a great food to add to your diet. They can be harvested directly from your yard or purchased from produce-focused grocery stores or Asian markets.
A word of caution: be sure to avoid any dandelions that have been sprayed with fertilizer or any other toxic sprays. The best way is to maintain our yards pesticide free! Rinse the leaves well before cooking.
Sautéed Dandelion Greens with Garlic
- One bunch of dandelions (roots removed)
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ onion
- Balsamic or flavored vinegar oils to taste
- 1 Tbs salt
- 1 Tbs olive oil or avocado oil
- Parmesan cheese or toasted pine nuts
Rinse the leaves well under running water.
Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add greens to boiling water and cook uncovered for 3-5minutes. Do not overcook.
While the greens are cooking, sauté the garlic and onions until the onion is translucent. Do not burn the garlic as it will taste very bitter.
Drain the greens by gently pressing out all excess water. To maintain dark green color, you can “shock” the greens in ice-cold water.
Add cooked and drained dandelion greens to the pan with sautéed onion-garlic mixture. Season with parmesan or toasted pine nuts.
To mask the bitterness, add flavored vinegar if desired.
Information contained here is not intended to treat or cure any diseases or provide medical advice.
Foraging with Kids: 52 wild and free edibles to enjoy with your children by Adele Nozedar and Lizzie Harper
Book Call Number: 581.632 NOZEDAR
The Sioux Chef’s indigenous kitchen by Sean Sherman and Beth Dooley
Book Call Number: 641.59 SHERMAN
Book Call Number: 641.302 NYERGES
Book Call Number: 581.632 ROSE
Book Call Number: 641.303 ZACHOS
Book Call Number: 581.632 BROWN
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