I cannot help but marvel at this weed, if I could embody a plant in all its glory, why not this one? The scourge of every home-owners dreams of a perfectly manicured lawn, these yellow flowers will still bloom, even when trimmed to the shortest height, and will spread far and wide when releasing drifts of white parachutes of seeds. We can spray them with herbicides and yet they will come back next year. They fight tooth and nail to blossom their yellow heads no matter what we think to do to them.
But did you know that dandelions are a super food? They are more nutritious than spinach or broccoli, and you can literally eat every part of the plant, from the root all the way up to the leaves and flowers. There are a vast number of recipes available online, and I will attempt to try as many as possible this year. Why not? They are literally EVERYWHERE and their health benefits are even a thousand times more beautiful than their bright yellow heads, and useful for a population plagued by liver issues.
Dandelions are one of the first food sources for bees and other pollinators, and play a key role in keeping the few colonies of beneficial insects alive. Dandelion honey is the earliest honey to be collected, and gives the beautiful light flavour of early spring. Try the dandelion honey from BeeLand at the Calgary Farmers Market!
Benefits of dandelions:
– gentle and effective liver supporter and detoxifier
– cleanses the blood, thus aiding in healthy radiant skin
– supports digestive function and may relieve constipation
– cancer fighter!
– supports healthy cholesterol levels
– anti-inflammatory properties
– highly nutritious, containing essential fatty acids, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals
When picking dandelions, they have the most flavour before their first flowers appear and the leaves are tender and young.
Make sure that the dandelions you are consuming have not been sprayed with any insecticides or herbicides (avoid parks and public places you are unsure of as well)
My First Recipe!
Dandelion Root Tea
- Pull up the glorious tap roots
- Wash thoroughly
- Cut into small pieces
- Roast lightly over medium heat in a heavy cast iron skillet, stirring often to keep from burning
- Boil your tea water in a separate pot, add 1 heaping teaspoon per cup of tea, strain
Options to enjoy your tea:
- Add a warm almond, coconut or oat milk for more of a smooth coffee feel
- Adding Nettle is a great adjunct for both men and women to support hormonal balance
- Add roasted carob for a chocolate/coffee feel
- Sweetener of your choice! Yacon syrup pairs very well with dandelion as it has a warm flavour. Also an excellent low glycemic sweetener with great effects on supporting the gastrointestinal system and microbiome