One of the things I’m most looking forward to when we move to our new homestead is learning how to garden from the elderly Italian gentleman next door. We don’t even live there yet, and he’s already taught us several different ways to use dandelions!
The last time we visited our lot, he was walking around his field with a bucket and a trowel, digging up fresh, tender dandelions for his lunch time salad. Aside from intentionally growing acres of his own fruits and vegetables, he also knows how to forage wild edibles!
The Gardener Next Door has more knowledge of sustainable agriculture than I have in my little finger, and is eager to share with us how to live off the land. He’s already shown us where the best places on our property are for growing watermelons and tomatoes!
I knew dandelions tasted best when they’re picked before they bloom, and that they’re good for detoxifying the liver, but I hadn’t even scratched the surface of all there was to know about Spring’s most cheerful and very prevalent weed!
While much of North American society sprays their lawns with chemicals to get rid of the prolific weed, our neighbor, a tried and true homesteader, celebrates their annual appearance and maintains they are good for everything!
Perhaps if we learned what exactly makes dandelions so beneficial, then we’d agree that they’re just misplaced flowers, and make a better effort at including them in our cuisine and self-care!
“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” ―
Benefits of Dandelions
The benefits of dandelions extend from its roots to its flower! Yep, the whole thing can be safely consumed, providing an abundance of nutrients our bodies need.
- Dandelions are high in vitamin A, K, vitamin C, and vitamin B6
- Dandelions contain a lot of iron which helps support healthy red blood cells.
- Dandelions also contain potassium, which helps regulate our heartbeat and blood pressure, as well as other essential minerals like folate, magnesium, and copper
- Dandelions are immune system boosters
- Dandelions can help balance our blood sugar levels, relieve heartburn, and soothe common digestive issues
- Dandelions can be eaten raw, and, unlike most foods, they don’t lose their nutrients when you cook them!
Creative Uses For Dandelions
Dandelions can be used to make:
- soup broths
- even deep fry them!
Loaded with vitamins and minerals, dandelions often find their way into skin care products to help infuse your body’s largest organ with nutrients through topical application.
You can use them to make:
- hair rinses
- facial steams
- acne treatments
- lotion bars
And of course, dandelions can be used for play (who remembers making dandelion crowns, and curling the tails by peeling them apart??), and to encourage pollinators to visit your surrounding gardens.
Dandelion Food Recipes
- Dandelion Salad with Balsamic Strawberries and Onions
- Sweet Potato Patties with Dandelion Greens
- Vegan Dandelion Honey
- Homemade Dandelion Bread
- Dandelion Egg Noodles
- Dandelion and Lemon Biscuits
- Dandelion Petal and Lemon Cookies with Kale Lemon Drizzle
- Grandma’s Dandelion Soup
- Roasted Dandelion Tea
- Dandelion Fritters
- Dandelion Jelly
- Dandelion Quiche
- Dandelion Wine
- Dandelion Syrup with Green Apples
- Dandelion Honey Butter
- Dandelion and Lemon Paleo Cupcakes
- Dandelion Vinegar
Harvesting Dandelions For Optimum Flavor
Dandelions are naturally bitter, but there are two things you can do to ensure a tasty harvest.
- Harvest dandelions from plants that have not yet bloomed. The leaves are at their tenderest before the weed begins to flower.
- Dandelion leaves from plants that have grown in the shade are naturally blanched, and less bitter.
Dandelion Skin Care Recipes
- Making and Using Dandelion Oil
- Dandelion Oil Lip Balm for Dry, Chapped Lips
- Dandelion Solid Lotion Bars
- Dandelion Salve Recipe
- Dandelion Shampoo Bars
- Dandelion Magnesium Lotion
- Dandelion Bath Bombs
- Dandelion Soap
Before taking or applying dandelions medicinally, internally, or topically, there are a few things to take into consideration.
Dandelions should only be harvested from lawns or fields that have not been sprayed with chemicals or fertilizer.
Also, avoid harvesting dandelions from the side of the road, dog parks, or any other public place where they may have undesirable “flavorings!”
Likewise, dandelions should only be consumed after a Doctor’s approval if you are:
- on blood thinners (Dandelions contain Vitamin K, which can interfere with blood thinning medication)
- pregnant or trying to conceive (although unconfirmed, some studies suggest dandelion root may be a natural contraceptive)
- have latex allergies
- have pollen or ragweed allergies
Have you ever tried dandelions?
How do you like ’em?!