We may not ask for these wildflowers in our yards and gardens, but they’re some of the first plants to sprout up in spring. Dandelions are not necessarily a weed—there are several ways to use this abundant wildflower in the kitchen!
All parts of dandelions are edible and offer culinary and medicinal uses. In fact, cutting them and eating them is a great, organic method of weed control for the yard! However, if you or anyone else in the household applied weed killer to the plants, stay away from eating them until next season.
Dandelion greens are the most familiar culinary application for the plant. These have the best flavor when they are young, before the first flowers appear, but older greens are still edible, but with a strong bitter taste. Harvest greens from the plant by cutting leaves off near the base, then steam or saute like you would any other greens or toss young leaves in a salad. Dandelion greens have a slight bitter flavor that goes nicely with goat cheese and strawberries.
Dandelion tea is another means of using the plant. Harvest greens and dry them, then mix dried greens with hot water to steep a natural tea that may be served with honey, lemon or any addition you desire. Since the whole plant is edible, you don’t need to stop at the greens for tea. Roots and flowers both add flavor to tea, but you may find these easier to boil and strain for serving instead of drying them like the dandelion greens.
In addition to these easy uses for dandelions in your kitchen, try more involved recipes, like dandelion wine or dandelion jellies and syrups!