Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring Salad Creations III: Dandelion Flower

In the midst of the Equinox Extravaganza, I stopped posting my yummy herbal salads for a couple of days. So let’s resume.

Today’s salad features dandelion flowers. The whole dandelion plant contains bitter compounds that support liver function. Because the bitterness has been bred out of the greens that we buy at the grocery store, a bitter taste is not palatable to most people today. But actually tasting the bitterness is an important part of the medicine. 

When you taste a bitter herb, the action of tasting actually stimulates the production of your digestive juices.

Dandelion is one such bitter herb. And it is very bitter, especially the leaves and roots. The flower, though is a bit sweet too. Don't get too excited, they aren’t like candy. But I do think they’re much more mild than other bitters and a good place to start with bitter herbs.

I started my kids on bitters early and they love eating dandelion flowers.

Dandelion flowers should be harvested from herbicide/pesticide free areas and areas free of heavy metal contamination. Since dandelion likes to grow in full sun it’s commonly found in grassy areas, but you should avoid harvesting in parks and roadsides since these areas are commonly treated with stronger chemicals that are used on edible crops (since most people do not imagine you’ll be eating the dandelions that grow there). Dandelions also bioaccumulate heavy metals. So do not harvest from areas near roads or driveways or any other potential heavy metal source.

For the fullest flowers, pick the dandelions right before you’ll be serving them since they close up after being picked.

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  1. I had no idea we could eat dandelions. Wow!

    1. Yes you can. And they're delicious! Admittedly though, they're probably an acquired taste.