Dandelions are my friends. They always have been. I’ve never understood the hatred some direct towards these most wonderful, helpful plants. Sure, we gardeners don’t want them crowding out our other plant allies, but we should accept and embrace their tenacity in our lawns. They are full of nutrients, possess healing qualities, and are entirely edible! Furthermore, for someone starting out foraging, they are one of the easiest plants to identify.
Since Bealtaine, I’ve taken several opportunities to further experiment with the humble yet lovely dandelion. Their young leaves are excellent in salads and stir-fries (though be prepared for bitterness), and their dried roots are an excellent coffee substitute. But I wanted to try more. A previous year, I attempted to make dandelion jam and failed miserably. I want to try again when I have less baby to chase, but I came across some other excellent recipes to try that used the flowers. I even enlisted my baby to help me pick some!
The first I tried were dandelion cookies. Yum yum! Use this recipe, which calls for organic ingredients and local honey for sweetener. These cookies are sweet, and the flowers give it a subtle flavor. My husband was skeptical to eat them since, as he says, they look a little hairy – but he enjoyed them! He would probably like them more with chocolate chips.
Another new favorite recipe I tried comes right from the Mountain Rose Herbs blog – Dandelion Fritters! This is a great side dish for lunch or dinner. It could also be an excellent snack. Although you need to fry these in a pan, it’s a good way to add some extra greens into your diet. In addition to the sweet flowers, the green from the sepals and end of the stems provide a slight bitter aftertaste. Mixed with chives and garlic – yum yum!
Bealtaine means dandelions in the North Country. Why not add some to your menu?