How To Love Dandelions
The world is a sea of yellow at this time of year as Dandelions have bloomed creating a rich, fragrant carpet across our fields, yards and lawns. Sadly, many people have been conditioned to see all of that yellow as something negative, something that needs to be destroyed. But today I want to share with you the beauty of Dandelions and how we can learn to love and cherish Dandelions.
How To Use Dandelions
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Child Magic and Dandelions
As a child I remember embracing the magic of Dandelions. We would take those golden flowers and rub them until our hands turned yellow. Or hold a blossom under our chin, if it reflected a golden hue against our skin it meant we were magical.
We all passed the magic test. And loved every moment of it!
When we built fairy houses, they were inevitably decorated with Dandelions. Sometimes we would even weave the stems together to create a roof made of golden blooms.
Regularly, we would gather up Dandelions when they grew nice and tall. Careful to preserve the stalks. Then we would carefully sit and weave ourselves a golden crown of Dandelions to wear as we played and ran in the fields.
And when those golden blooms turned to fluffy orbs, we would spend hours picking and blowing those fluffs everywhere.
As children we love Dandelions. They are the stuff of magic.
But as adults we are taught to hate them.
Dandelions and Adulthood
Sometimes adulting sucks. Like when we lose that magic and instead are expected to destroy nature in pursuit of these artificial, manicured yards. By doing that we are working against nature, rather than with nature.
So how can we learn to love Dandelions and work with Mother Nature?
Dandelions and the Bees
First, let’s understand the roll of Dandelions and why they are so important. Dandelions are one of the first flowers to bloom, which makes them a very important food source for bees that are just waking up. And after a long winter they are HUNGRY!
Everyone is connected to nature. And due to that we are connected to the bees. The bees are one of the most important members of our ecosystem. Without them our food chain collapses. We need to protect the bees and that means ensuring enough healthy food is available to them.
In the spring, this could mean leaving your Dandelions to bloom without mowing them down immediately. Many people have embraced the idea of a “No Mow May”. Which means not mowing your lawn at all in May and letting those wild blooms grow and our pollinating insects (like butterflies and bees) feed after a long winter.
It definitely means avoiding the use of any strong weed killers and toxins.
The Health Benefits of Dandelions
I know it seems crazy, but Dandelions are actually a super food! The greens put spinach and kale to shame, as they are packed full of healthy nutrients.
The Dandelion greens (leaves) are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Half a cup of Dandelion greens has more calcium than a glass of milk.
But the whole plant including root and flowers are edible.
Dandelions are a good source of Vitamins C, A, and K, plus rich in iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. The roots are also high in fibre.
Here are even more benefits from Dandelions:
- They stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Fight inflammation
- Aids digestion
- Help establish a healthy hydration and electrolyte balance.
- Slows down aging and boosts immunity
- Can help with weight loss
- Helps with HPB (high blood pressure)
- Lowers cholesterol by helping to raise HDL levels and balance cholesterol levels
For more on the health benefits of Dandelions check out these resources: 13 Health Benefits of Dandelion and 10 Health Benefits of Dandelion.
How to Harvest Dandelions
First, make sure you are harvesting Dandelions from an area where there are no toxins being sprayed. Too many people see Dandelions as weeds that must be poisoned and destroyed. Protect yourself by ensuring the ones you harvest have not been treated. You will also want to avoid any that have been sprayed with fertilizer. Natural and organic is the best!
Dandelions, like many plants, can turn bitter and woody as they establish and mature. It is best to harvest when they are young and new, particularly in the early spring or in the fall.
TIP! For best flavour from the leaves, harvest them before the plant flowers.
Remember you can eat the whole plant, so when harvesting pull it up by the root, ensuring you have root, stalk, greens and flower.
Wash all harvested plants well. You can eat Dandelion raw or you can make some incredible recipes.
Dandelion Tea Recipe
Dandelion tea is a simple and quick way to enjoy your Dandelions.
You can use the blossoms to make a Dandelion blossom tea or most people prefer to use the roots. When using the roots they can be fresh or dried (this makes them last longer). Chop the root up very fine and small. Then use a tea infuser.
Tip! I love this one for all of my tea brewing (which is a LOT!). The best part is that you can use it to make one mug or a whole teapot.
Add about a teaspoon of Dandelion to the strainer then pour boiled water over it and fill the cup. Let it steep for 2 to 3 minutes.
Finally, Dandelion tea is quite bitter, so add a bit of honey to your tea to counteract the bitterness. Enjoy!
Want an iced tea? Brew your tea as above, then chill it in the fridge. Serve over ice for a cool treat.
More of a coffee drinker? Try this Roasted Dandelion Root Coffee.
Need a cold drink? Check out this Violet and Dandelion Pink Lemonade recipe for the perfect drink on a hot summer day!
More Dandelion Recipes
It doesn’t stop at tea, here are even more ideas for your Dandelion consumption.
Salads – Add the greens to your favourite salad for a nutritious punch! Or get really fancy with this incredibly delicious looking Caramelized Golden Beet, Kamut, and Dandelion Salad. You can also make your own salad dressing using homemade Dandelion infused vinegar.
Soup – I LOVE a good homemade soup. It is one of my favourite things to make. This year I want to try this delicious Dandelion Soup recipe.
Fried Dandelions – Yup, it sounds crazy but you can add some Dandelion leaves to your morning fry up of bacon and eggs, fry the greens with a bit of garlic as a nutritious side, dip Dandelion leaves in tempura and then deep fry them, or try your hand at this Dandelion Fritter recipe that looks so very moreish.
Desserts – Add Dandelion petals to your desserts for a visual and yummy punch. You can also try your hand at Dandelion & Honey Marshmallows or Dandelion & Honey Ice Cream.
Jelly – Now this idea sounds amazing! I haven’t made it myself yet, but it is definitely on my list. With this Dandelion Jelly I can bring that warm hug of summer sunshine to my morning toast anytime!
More recipe ideas – Why not try your hand at a Dandelion Pesto or Dandelion Capers?
We don’t need to limit ourselves to recipes with this non-toxic powerhouse.
Check out our Dandelion Bath Bombs.
For our soap makers, try our quick and easy Dandelion Soap making project.
Or if you are looking for a more advanced version check out this one.
Kids will love creating beautiful Craft Bouquets with Dandelions in this project.
Are you ready to love your Dandelions this year?