Though dandelions are thought by many to be a useless weed, dandelions are powerful herbs and a good source of nutrients, like:
- Vitamin C
- Beta carotene
- Protein (more than a same size serving of spinach!)
If your neighbors happen to use commercial weed killers, you won’t want to consume the dandelions growing in your yard. Unfortunately, if your neighbors are using commercial weed killers, they’re in the groundwater and that means they’re tainting your yard, too.
Dandelions for human consumption are best picked out in the country, away from pollutants found on manicured lawns and lots.. If you don’t have access to them outside of the city, you can grow them in pots from seeds (even on a city balcony). Two of the easiest and ways to utilize dandelions are in a salad or as dandelion tea.
Dandelions as Salad Greens
If you’d like to add dandelion greens to your salad, harvest them just as you would any other salad green, cut off the ends of the leaves, wash them well, chop them up into your salad, and enjoy.
Dandelions as Tea
Another great way to use dandelions is in tea, either raw or roasted. The best leaves for dandelion tea are the youngest, smallest leaves.
To make raw dandelion tea:
- Wash the leaves thoroughly and steep them in hot water for about 10 minutes
- Strain the liquid, add some honey and a little lemon
- Keep the steamed leaves to eat later (much like you would eat steamed spinach)
To make roasted dandelion tea:
Roasted dandelion root makes can be used to brew a dark drink similar to coffee.
- Dig up the root and wash it thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear
- Preheat your oven to 300°F
- Chop the washed dandelion root into small pieces and place it on a cookie sheet & roast for 2 hours
- Steep the root pieces in hot water for no more than 10 minutes to keep it from being bitter. Add honey to sweeten and enjoy!
Before You Eat Dandelions
Important info you need to know:
- If you’re allergic to ragweed, marigolds, daisies or other plants like these, you may also be allergic to dandelions.
- Dandelion can cause some antibiotics to be less effective.
- If you take diuretics, dandelion is also a diuretic and it might cause harm to your body.
- Dandelion is really good for detoxifying the liver and it can affect how the liver breaks down some medications such as Elavil, Haldol, Zofran, Inderal, any of the statin drugs for high cholesterol, Valium, morphine, or Ativan. This could mean the drugs aren’t effective.
- Talk to your doctor before you starting drinking dandelion tea on a regular basis.