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.
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….
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:
WHB #47 is hosted by Kalyn (Kalyn’s Kitchen)
edit 28 August 2006: