Dandelion has been popular with French and Italian people for centuries.
Sautéed dandelion greens is a very important dish of Italian cuisine. Roman families would harvest wild dandelion greens growing along side the streets of the Italian capital.
Dandelion salad is a very popular recipe in France. It may even have something to do with why French women are so slender!
You can find dandelions growing everywhere. They spring up in your lawn, in the cracks of the sidewalk, along the trails in the forest and almost anywhere there is soil.
I love thinking about the energy of the dandelion. No matter how hard we try to get rid of them they keep coming back. They are incredibly tenacious. Maybe that’s what makes them so nutritious. That quiet persistence is inspiring.
Dandelions are sweet little gifts from the earth, full of magic and nutrition.
They grow cheerful yellow blossoms that turn into magical white puffs. I remember when I was a little girl, I thought they were happy little gifts in the lawn. When they turned white I would make a wish and blow the seeds away. Pure magic!
The name “dandelion” comes from the French for “dent de lion,” or the Italian “denti di leone,” both of which mean “the lion’s tooth,” a reference to their jagged edges.
French often call dandelion “pissenlit,” a word that underscores that the dandelion has long been regarded as a diuretic, because pissenlit is translated as “urinate in bed.”
Healing Properties of Dandelion
Dandelion has been used for centuries by many different cultures to support healthy liver functioning as well as natural detoxification.
Here are some of its powerful healing properties:
Good for Liver and Digestion
- Dandelions help to cleanse the liver and support healthy liver function.
- Ingesting the leaves increases hydrochloric acid in the stomach, sends messages to the liver to prepare for digestion, increases the appetite and prepares the liver to break down fats.
- They aid the liver (and entire digestive system) by helping to maintain the proper flow of bile.
High In Nutrients
- They’re higher in vitamin A than carrots.
- They are packed with calcium, iron and fiber.
- The iron, vitamin K, and calcium content is far greater than spinach and broccoli.
- They contain more protein per serving than spinach and the greens contain all the essential amino acids.
- Dandelion leaf is a diuretic, it promotes urination helping to remove toxic substances from the kidneys, urinary system and entire body.
- Its disinfectant properties inhibit bacterial growth, preventing UTIs.
- As far as wild food goes they are the easiest one to find. They are abundant in our lawns and along most walking trails.
It’s great to pick your own dandelions greens and eat them. You probably have some in your own backyard.
Be sure you are getting them from areas where they have not used any weed killers or pesticides. Wash them thoroughly.
There’s something magical about picking and eating wild food the earth gives to us as a gift.
If you don’t want to forage for dandelion greens, they can be found in many health food stores.
How To Use Dandelion Leaves and Flowers
Dandelion greens have a delicious slightly bitter taste that can be prepared in many ways!
Younger plants tend to be less bitter as well as more tender. The older greens should be parboiled to cut the bitter flavor.
Salad: The young greens can be eaten raw, in a salad, mixed with other greens.
Smoothie: Add dandelion greens to your smoothie. A few leaves, not too much or else it will be bitter.
Juices: Add to your favorite green juice for energy and to stimulate your liver.
Stir Fry: Add chopped leaves to a vegetable stir fry and sauté until tender.
Grains: Mix chopped raw or parboiled greens into rice or quinoa. Add olive oil, chopped red onion and a few walnuts.
Stews and Soups: Stir chopped leaves into soups and stews for additional green nutrition.
Sautéed: Dandelion greens taste delicious sautéd with sliced onions and garlic.
Beans: Mix chopped dandelion leaves into hot or cold white beans, with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Dandelion Flowers: The florets or just open flowers have a honey like taste and can be added to salads or rice dishes. In the bigger flowers, pick off the yellow parts, because the green sepals at the base of the bloom can taste bitter.
Making Wishes: The mature dandelions that have turned into magical white puffs should always be used for making wishes.
Here are a few dandelion recipes from my blog:
- Poached Eggs with Dandelion Greens in Broth
- Sautéed Dandelion Greens
- Pan Grilled Portobello Mushroom Steaks w/Dandelion Greens
In Conclusion: Love your dandelions the way the French and Italians do. Once you start eating this beautiful green vegetable, it’s so tasty, you’ll find you have a new perspective on a weed you once considered a problem.