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Throughout April and into later spring, there seems to be an abundance of dandelions wherever you look. Most people think of dandelion flowers as weeds and want to get rid of them from their lawn. But did you know there are so many benefits of using dandelions? And so many things that you can make from its flowers, leaves and roots? Well here are 20 dandelion recipes that show you just how versatile this plant can be.
Maybe we should be incorporating the humble dandelion more into our daily lives.
Dandelion Recipes – 20 Ways To Use This Versatile Flower
You can certainly find dandelions all about near me. My local park and back yard is full of them. And most people will find them pretty, but yet are unaware that these pretty yellow flowers that grow so freely are actually a superfood!
I love foraging for free food and free things to use in nature. I use the hawthorn berries in autumn to make hawthorn jelly, and horse chestnuts to make free laundry liquid. And just like both of those, dandelions are plentiful but not widely recognised as useful or edible, so I look forward to sharing with you some of their many uses.
Can You Eat Dandelions?
Absolutely! In fact, all parts of the dandelion are edible. The flower, leaves and root can all be used. In fact, the whole of the plant is really high in vitamins and antioxidants. And is good for so many more health reasons. So I can definitely eat the dandelions growing in my back yard…
The Health Benefits of Dandelions
There are so many amazing health benefits to adding, using and eating dandelions to your diet.
They are high in vitamins A, B, C and K. In fact, they pack more nutrition into their dense greens than even kale or spinach!
They contain more calcium than a glass of milk.
Their high potassium content can act as a strong diuretic. These diuretic properties are useful for people with high blood pressure, which dandelion recipes may help to lower.
They contain high levels of magnesium, antioxidants and fibre. Antioxidants can have anti aging benefits.
They have anti-inflammatory properties, and are known to help ease digestive ailments, and sooth the digestive system.
Recent studies have shown that they can lower cholesterol levels. And they are noted for being able to stabilise blood sugar levels.
Plus they are good for detox, as they are a brilliant liver cleanser.
So its is definitely worth trying to get more dandelions into your diet and everyday life.
Possible Side Effects Of Dandelions
But they can also have side effects and so need to be used with caution. As with anything, it is important to consider what other medications that you may be taking and your own personal circumstances before deciding to add dandelions into your diet.
Some people are allergic to touching or ingesting dandelions, so do not eat if you have a known allergy. Plus, if you are taking blood pressure medications, diuretics, Cipro or lithium, you should not use dandelions, as these medications will interact.
As always, if you are in doubt or on any medications, do consult with your GP, doctor or healthcare professional.
How To Harvest Dandelions
The best time to harvest dandelions is in early spring, when the plants are young.
Always make sure that you harvest from an area where the plants have not been sprayed with chemicals or weedkiller. The best places are in remote areas away from roadsides and away from where animals graze. And possibly stay away from where dogs have been peeing too!
Pick the flower heads when they are fully open.Young flowers are the best, older flowers tend to be much more bitter.
Pick full green leaves. The smaller leaves are much more tender.
Finally, choose old large established plants when foraging for roots, as the roots of old plants are woody and thicker. Pull the whole dark brown root stem up, as this can also be used. The whole plant is edible.
Do leave some for the bees! Honey bees use dandelions as one of their first sources of pollen to make honey during the year, so you shouldn’t strip a whole area. However, it is a really good reason for everyone to get involved picking all the dandelions out of your front lawn!
How To Store Dandelions
Remember, the flowers will tend to wilt quite quickly after being picked, so if you are using the whole flower heads, maybe consider just picking what you need for your recipe. If using the petals, pull them off and use them straight away.
If storing the leaves, give them several really good rinses. Then pat them dry and store them as you would lettuce leaves in the fridge. Either in a container or in water to keep them fresh.
As for the roots, once pulled up you can dry the root out by leaving in a warm spot, or roast and grind them into a finely ground powder ready to use for your root recipes.
Time to use what you have foraged!
And there are many uses for all parts of the plant, so I am going to take each part of the plant in turn and give you some ideas for uses for each. These dandelion dishes, recipe ideas and dandelion balms will really be useful in everyday life.
Dandelion Root Recipes
The simplest way to use dandelions is by making dandelion tea. For this you can use either fresh or dried dandelion roots.
And the simplest dandelion tea recipe is to boil the water, wash and chop the root finely, add to the boiled water and steep well for a few minutes.
The resulting tea may seem quite bitter. So add a little honey and lemon juice to cut through the bitterness, or as an alternative, use stevia sugar substitute and lime juice.
And you have the perfect tea for helping with digestive issues.
Dandelion Root Coffee
Another use for the dandelion root is root coffee. Another easy recipe, you need to dry the roots, then grind them up until they are finely chopped. Then brew in your coffee pot or cafetière (french press) as normal. Again, this can be very bitter coffee, so you may need to use more sweetener and cream than normal. But it is far more gentle on the tummy than normal coffee, and is naturally decaffeinated.
Dandelion Chai Recipes
Plus, you can add other spices such as ginger, cardamom and cinnamon. Grind them along with the dandelion root to create a root chai. Perfect for a delicious detox.
Dandelion Leaves Recipes
The leaves of the dandelion have a whole load of culinary uses. These recipes with dandelion greens show just how versatile this plant can be when used as a vegetable. Cooking dandelions is actually very common in Asian cuisine, and you can often find them stocked in asian markets and stores. Ironically, they are often the most expensive leaf salad that you can buy. How to cook dandelions? Take a dandelion leaf and cook just like most green leaf vegetables. These make a perfect side dish.
Cook green dandelions in olive oil with garlic over medium heat to create a mouthwatering side.
Cook greens then add red pepper flakes, garlic, salt and black pepper to your sauteed dandelions to give your dandelion dish a bit of a kick!
Dandelion Green Fritters
As with most greens, you can chop the leaves up finely, and mould into patties or use a tempura batter to create fritters. Wonderful comfort food idea.
Dandelion greens can be used pretty much as a substitutes for arugula or rocket in many recipes. I love quiche, and so this dandelion quiche is definitely a perfect way to use the leaves for me!
Use a food blender to finely process the dandelion greens with olive oil before adding pine nuts, garlic, salt and parmesan. And you have a wonderful alternative to standard basil pesto.
Add chopped dandelion leaves to your usual scone mix to make these wonderful dandelion scones.
This dandelion green recipe is the easiest of all. Just clean your dandelion leaves well and add them into your salad.
How should I clean my dandelion greens? Rinse them several times and pat dry. They go so well with tomato, basil and red onion. Just drizzle a french olive oil dressing over the whole thing. Easy peasy.
Dandelion Flower Recipes
Finally here are some of the wonderful uses for the pretty yellow flowers of this versatile plant.
Dandelion Flower Tea
Just as with the roots, you can make a lovely dandelion tea using the flower of the plant. Again, boil the water, wash the flowers well. Add to the boiling water and steep for 2-3 minutes, and you have a really refreshing tea
Another incredibly easy recipe, you only need water, lemons, sugar or honey, and your dandelion heads.
You only need the yellow petals for this recipe. Make your usual shortbread recipe, but add the petals into the mix and the resulting cookies have a honey taste.
Dandelion Honey is a brilliant alternative for vegans. You use the dadelion flower heads, simmer, soak and infuse them with lemon juice before leaving to marinate overnight. Then strain, add sugar and simmer until it thickens.
Sounds easy, but see this link for the whole method and recipe.
Another wonderful way to use up the flower petals is by adding it to a bread recipe. This one is a quick and easy one!
Just like the dandelion honey, except this time you use pectin to help the dandelion mixture to set, so it has a much more jelly jam-like texture.
Dandelion Flower Fritters
As with the dandelion greens, you can fry the flower heads once washed well in a tempura batter to create dandelion fritters.
Dandelion wine Is Actually more like a mead than a wine, and again you only need the flower petals to make this old fashioned drink. This dandelion wine recipe shows you how to make it, and what mistakes to avoid.
Non Food Dandelion Projects
As well as being completely edible, the dandelion can be used in all manner of balms, salves and creams. Here are a few of my favourites.
Though it is made with olive oil, dandelion oil is not to be consumed. Infuse a jar of light or virgin olive oil with dandelion heads, and use the oil on skin, or rub into joints. It is a great skin soother.
Pick enough flower heads to half fill the jar. Wash them and let them wilt. Then add olive oil. Make sure that the dandelions are completely covered with oil. (you may want to weigh them down to prevent mould) Cover the jar, or put the lid on.
Leave in a warm sunny place for 2 weeks, then strain the liquid into a clean jar and it is ready to use!
If you enjoy soap making, then dandelions can be crushed and added into your process. I love the idea of this honey and dandelion soap which can also be made in a slow cooker.
This balm salve is a lovely way to be able to carry around the skin soothing properties of dandelions. See this tutorial for how to make your own.
So as you can see, there are such a wonderful host of uses for the humble dandelion. Do you think that you will be making any of these dandelion recipes above? I love to see your makes, please comment below, or do find me on my social media and tag me in your makes.
And please do pin this post for later.