As much as dandelion has been cursed in modern times as pest and a nuisance, the reality is that this plant has been recognized by cultures all across the globe for its capabilities to heal. Its latin name, Taraxacum officinale, means that it is a remedy for disorders. It was reportedly carried on the Mayflower by early pilgrims, and was then adopted by Native American cultures who also recognized its healing properties.
All parts of the dandelion are edible – the roots, leaves, and flowers – and they all carry some of of the plant’s medicinal properties. Dandelion comes to us in the spring, just when many of us need it! It is a mild laxative, diuretic, and helps improve function of the liver. It is known as blood-cleanser, and helps remove accumulated toxins in the body. Its an excellent choice for many of those who wish to improve skin conditions (its important to consider what you put in your body as well as what you put on your skin!).
As many of us strive to eat well and eat locally, dandelion is a truly a gift! Its probably already in your backyard, and as long as you don’t spray it (or it does not grow near a roadway), its ready for the picking! Dandelion leaves are high in Vitamin A and C, potassium and calcium.
Inspired by Susan Weed, I picked some fresh flowers yesterday with my daughter for Dandelion Fritters. We delighted in removing the yellow petals from the stem and piling them up in a fluffy beautiful bowl of spring cheer. We folded them into the batter, and cooked them up into warm and delicious fritters. I spread a little violet -infused honey on top…. yum!!
The leaves can be folded into stir fries, eggs or smoothies (and are best picked before they flower), and the roots can be put into soups or dried and made into tea. Here’s the recipe for fritters:
Dandelion Flower Fritters, from Susan Weed
Serves 2 people
1 cup whole wheat flour or other grain
2 tsp baking powder
.5 cup milk, milk alternative, or water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup yellow parts of dandelion flower (remove all green)
Mix dry ingredients. Beat egg, add liquid and oil. Stir into dry mix. Stir in yellow florets and cook like pancakes. Server very hot with jam, syrup, or butter.