Spring is in the air and with it come so many beneficial herbs, each packed full of vitamins to help cleanse our winter bodies.
Dandelion has been valued since ancient times for its great healing properties. These abundant little flowers are a symbol of the true perseverance of nature, returning each year to fortify our immune systems and set us up for the season ahead.
With its golden flower, bitter green leaves and nutritious roots, the whole plant can be used, ensuring it plays an important role in herbal medicine.
Great source of vitamins - A,C,K,E and B
Contains minerals - Iron, Calcium, magnesium and potassium
Promotes healthy, glowing skin
Supports liver health
Balances blood sugar
Acts as natural diuretic
Stimulates appetite and helps digestion
Improves the immune system
When To Gather
You will find Dandelion leaves and roots at almost any time of the year, with flowers in full bloom April-May. They’re widespread and abundant in open grassy places.
Gather the leaves before flowering, the stems and flowers during, and the roots in spring and autumn.
HOW TO USE
Sprinkle the petals on salads and cakes Dip the flowers in batter and fry them tempura style Pickle the buds and use them like capers The flowers can also be used to make Dandelion wine
or, for a simple treat, simply infuse in hot water for everyday tea. Dandelion tea can be made by packing fresh flowers and leaves into a mason jar and pouring simmering water over them. Let the tea infuse until it’s cool enough to drink then strain.
Young Dandelion leaves can be served raw in salads and sandwiches.
Choose the youngest leaves, strip them from the plant by hand, remove the excess stalks and wash well. Dress the roughly chopped leaves with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.
Older leaves can be sautéed or stir fried.
Dandelion Root Coffee
Dig the roots up in autumn, when they are at their fattest and most mellow. Scrub them clean (do not peel) and dry thoroughly, preferably in the sun. Roast in the oven until the roots are brittle, grind fairly coarsely and use as ordinary coffee (yes, coffee!).
Note: Dandelions are generally safe for most people, but if you have active gallstones, are on diuretics, are pregnant, nursing or on medication, check with a health care professional before consuming. If you’re allergic to dandelions, don’t use these recipes.