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Recipes for Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Updated: May 15, 2023

Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is the poster child for edible spring greens, with good reason: it’s everywhere, hard to mistake for anything else, tasty, and nutritious. But many people who try it give up, finding it too bitter. There are two common mistakes: harvesting from mature plants (Photo 1), and not getting creative with young leaves!

Photo 1: Mature Dandelions are great if you want to use the flowers, but the leaves will be pretty tough and bitter at this stage. If you DO want to use leaves, boil them in one or two changes of water to soften and reduce bitterness.

Dandelion is a nutritional powerhouse. The greens are packed with Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, and some of the B vitamins. They are higher in many nutrients than our common domestic greens, including Spinach and Kale. All parts of the plant are edible, and Dandelion has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Its very name speaks to its high regard. The species ‘officinale’ was given to plants with extensive pharmacological and culinary uses.

Photo 2: Dandelion leaves are much more palatable in early Spring, at this stage.

While it is useful in the kitchen, it is over-rated as a useful plant for native pollinators in North America. To learn more about that – and why I’m not a fan of the #NoMowMay movement – you can check out the Dandelion post in the Plant Profiles section of this blog. Here, I’ll stick to recipe suggestions. For the first two, you’ll want young, early spring leaves (Photo 2).


Dandelion Leaves with Bacon

4 cups young Dandelion leaves, washed

3-4 strips bacon

3-4 cloves garlic, sliced


Bring a pot of water to a boil and add Dandelion leaves. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While greens are simmering, cook bacon to crispy. Remove and crumble. Add sliced garlic to bacon fat and cook until browned. Drain greens and add them to the garlic-fat combo, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in bacon and serve as a side dish, or over scrambled eggs or pasta.

Kate's Dandelion Leaves with Bacon

Dandelion Greens with Kate’s Orange Vinaigrette

4 cups young Dandelion leaves, washed

1 tbsp orange zest

1 tbsp orange juice

2 tsp white wine vinegar (or champagne vinegar)

2 tbsp walnut oil (or oil of choice)


Mix vinaigrette ingredients well and let stand for one hour (or overnight). Toss with Dandelion leaves and enjoy!



Dandelion Flower Jelly or Syrup

8-10 cups Dandelion flowers, involucre removed*

Water

Sugar

Lemon juice

Pectin, if making jelly


*the involucre is the thick green part underneath the yellow flower. This is very bitter, so you’ll want to get rid of as much of it as you can. The easiest way is to just snip with scissors as close to the flower as you can. A bit of green in your mix will be OK.


Add just enough water to cover the flowers and simmer until the colour has transferred from the petals to the water. You can also bring the water to a full rolling boil, add the petals, boil for 1 minute and then set aside to steep for 12-24 hours (overnight is fine).


Strain through cheesecloth, pressing out as much liquid as you can, and reserve the juice (you should have 2-3 cups). Add 1 cup of sugar for every cup of juice. If you’re making jelly, add your pectin of choice and follow the instructions on the package (note: flowers have no natural pectin).


For syrup, add 1-2 tbsp lemon juice to the Dandelion-sugar mixture, bring it to a boil, and then simmer gently until it reaches the desired consistency (I find an hour usually works). Pour into sterilized bottles and enjoy!

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Bryan D. Cook
Bryan D. Cook
23 abr 2023

Tie the leaves of the dandelion loosely while still growing outside and cover with a flower pot or vase. Let the leaves blanche white then harvest...like endive. Bryan

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Contestando a

I've heard about that, but haven't tried it yet. This could be the year - thanks!!

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