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Sunday, 27 August 2006

dandelion greens (WHB#47: dandelion)

Filed under: crossblogging,food & drink,main course,vegetables,WHB — ejm @ 07:53 EDT

summary: dandelion greens; information about Weekend Herb Blogging; (click on image to see larger view)

WHB#47: dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

dandelion greens I have been meaning to post this for ages…

Last April, when we were going to buy greens to go with an Indian curry, we saw lovely bunches of dandelion greens. We were actually intending to buy kale but the dandelion greens looked too inviting.

It’s hard to imagine our lawns and fields without dandelions, isn’t it?! But apparently, North America was completely dandelion-free before the European immigration in the 1600s. Dandelions were brought here as a food source…. And thanks to the dandelion’s ingenious (cough) way of self-seeding, dandelions are now invasive all over the world. (I first read about this in the wonderful article Truly a Remarkable Plant by Rich Lang in Saveur Magazine April 2005.)

Apparently, all parts of the dandelion are edible. I have only ever eaten dandelion greens though. Sometime I would love to try dandelion wine made from the blossoms…. And I have been so successful at irradicating dandelions from our front lawn that we have to buy dandelion greens from the vegetable stands.

Our first spring in this house, I must have spent about 8 hours laboriously digging up the many many dandelions covering our postage stamp of a lawn (chemical and pesticide free); the next year required about 4 hours; the next year maybe 30 minutes…. This last spring, I only had to spend about 2 minutes to locate and dig up 4 dandelions sneaking up through the grass.

dandelion greens So if we want to eat dandelion greens, we have to buy them! Here are those April dandelion greens half cooked. The recipe we use is basically the same as for aloo methi (Fenugreek Greens and Potato). They retain their brilliant emerald colour in the initial stages of cooking but when they are ready to eat, they are quite reduced and quite dark green. The taste is a little on the bitter side but in a nice way. (click on image to see larger view)

Hmmm, I wonder if next spring, I should let the dandelions on the lawn flourish….

weekend herb blogging - © kalyns kitchen Weekend Herb Blogging: dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

The dandelion name is derived from the French dents de lion (lions’ teeth). Dandelion greens are high in iron and vitamins A & C. But one doesn’t want to just eat any dandelion greens! Make sure they are young leaves and herbicide free. (It would also be quite unwise to harvest dandelions from the roadside, considering all the toxins from the passing cars being spewed and absorbed by them.)

Apparently they are best in the spring, but we see them at the vegetable stands pretty much year round. And, of course, dandelions are insanely easy to grow…

Read more about dandelions:

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WHB #47 is hosted by Kalyn (Kalyn’s Kitchen)

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edit 28 August 2006:

 

8 Comments for dandelion greens (WHB#47: dandelion)” »

  1. Comment by MrsBrown — 27 August 2006 @ 11:30 EDT

    I had dandelion wine once a long time ago at someone’s house who really knew what he was doing when he made wine. In the book ‘Dandelion Wine’ by Ray Bradbury, he talks about dandelion wine tasting like summer. When I tasted that dandelion wine, I understood what he meant.

    In our garden, we have a proliferation of dandelions. If we’d known, we could have sold them at the Farmers’ Market for big bucks–well, maybe for big cents.

  2. Comment by ejm — 27 August 2006 @ 12:27 EDT

    Or you could have had a major dandelion greens feast, MrsBrown.

    Really? The dandelion wine tasted like summer? Did it taste like dandelions too? (not that I really know what I think dandelions taste like….)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    That Bradbury book is one of my all-time favourites.

  3. Comment by Mats — 31 August 2006 @ 12:02 EDT

    I have enjoyed the cultivated dandelion leaves since I first discovered their delightful bitterness in the ’70′s. I, like you, thought, why buy them when the plants are ubiquitous. Well, one tasting answered the question – wild dandelion leaves are hyper-bitter.
    As for dandelion wine, I made some really good batches during my wine making phase (early 70′s as well).

  4. Comment by Paz — 2 September 2006 @ 00:27 EDT

    Hey there,
    I’ve recommended you for Blog Day on my site.

    Paz

  5. Comment by ejm — 2 September 2006 @ 07:58 EDT

    The Saveur article did talk about the bitter quality of wild dandelion greens, Mats. They recommended picking the dandelions very very young and that the greens are more bitter after the plant has flowered. I couldn’t be greener with envy that you have not only tasted but MADE dandelion wine.

    Wow, Paz. Thank you. I’m honoured!

  6. Comment by Jeanne — 7 September 2006 @ 11:16 EDT

    Hmm, you can come over anytime and have my dandelions!! I used to try really hard to eradicate them – now all I do is lop off the flowers after they have bloomed and before they seed, my reasoning being that at least the population isn’t GROWING! Maybe next spring I will try this recipe – I think any leaves I get now will be old and tired and VERY bitter. Plus all the neighbourhood cats have probably walked/rolled/worse on them!! :o)

  7. Comment by ejm — 7 September 2006 @ 14:12 EDT

    Well, that’s an interesting theory, Jeanne, but you do know that dandelions have tap roots so that they can cleverly spread underground as well as overground? Ummm, cats eh? Perhaps I’ll pass on your garden dandelions… :lalala:

    But if you see dandelion greens on the vegetable stands, I urge you to give them a try.

  8. Comment by MyKitchenInHalfCups — 21 May 2009 @ 08:07 EDT

    Wow I think this would be so perfect for injera!

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