Eat your weeds, Dandelion Greens are here

Posted on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Spring is flying toward us, the days are getting longer and the Bay Area hills are bursting with new green growth. Spring is a traditional time to do “spring cleaning” and this translates to our bodies as well as our homes.  After a winter of eating heavier, warming foods, spring is the time to start eating the abundant greens.

Dandelion greens (Taraxacum officinale) help gently clear our liver of the excess of winter eating and nourish us with vital nutrients and minerals. Calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, B3 & C can all be found in Dandelion.

Dandelion has been a food and medicine for all of time. Some other names for Dandelion are blowball, lion’s tooth, swine’s snout, priest’s crown & puffball.  It is used medicinally as a diuretic, liver cleanser, & digestive aid. The high iron content can help prevent anemia.  Potassium is abundant in Dandelion unlike other diuretics which leach potassium from the body.  Certainly those with high blood pressure should look into ways to integrate eating Dandelion into their lives.  Check with a clinical herbalist before using Dandelion medicinally if you are on prescription diuretics.

Though Dandelion is often bitter, I have found that making a salad and mixing in a crumbled hard boiled egg is a great way to cut the bitter of the fresh greens and eat a great meal.

Dandelion & Egg Salad

Makes 2 servings

1 Bunch Dandelion:  Cut out bulky stems and then cut the bunch crosswise into very, very thin slices  and place in a bowl

1 Hard Boiled Egg:  Crumble in with Dandelion

Vinaigrette:  Olive Oil, Rice Wine Vinegar, Dijon Mustard, Salt & Pepper.  Keep in mind, any white vinaigrette will do.   Some traditional recipes call for using a hot vinaigrette to help wilt the salad, but this version usually calls for crumbled bacon and drippings…

Feel free to play around with your Dandelion Salad.  Some folks like to add some romaine lettuce in to cut the bitter.  You can also add other types of greens such as young dock leaves, sorrel, plantain, watercress and young cleavers & chickweed.  Some of these are available at your local Farmer’s Market, others are not grown commercially and can be found in your local woods.

Contact the BayAreaHerbalists.Net to find out about upcoming Herb Walks and Classes in the Bay Area.