Tips for Eating & Harvesting Dandelions

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It’s Dandelion Season! Looking for ways to use these healthy greens in your kitchen? Dandelion greens may not be the most popular greens out there but hopefully after this post you’re going to feel informed enough and comfortable enough to go out and give em a try!

Not only are dandelions delicious, they are a nutritional powerhouse! Dandelion greens are a dark, leafy green veggie that are packed with goodness. They are said to be one of the most vitamin packed foods on the planet! They have more fiber, protein, calcium and potassium than any other green out there and they’re rich in beta carotene, iron, vitamin A, E and K. Dandelion greens not only support the digestive system but they also reduce swelling and inflammation in the body. Needless to say, they bring a lot to the table.

Like many other light, leafy greens, they peak right at the beginning of Spring and go till about mid Summer. This is when you’re going to get the best flavor, the highest nutritional value, and they can be foraged for FREE!

You’re going to notice that the leaves are fairly irregular and a bit jagged, they look a little bit like an arrow. You want to make sure they are nice and firm and a rich green with no discoloration and no wilting.

Dandelions do tend to be a little bitter by nature but what you’ll find is the smaller the leaf the more mild and tender the flavor. Try to avoid the really big leaves and keep it between small and medium sized.

After foraging for dandelion greens you’ll want to keep them in the refrigerator under the high humidity setting in your veggie drawer, know that they’ll only last a couple of days so you do want to use them shortly after harvesting. Once you’re ready to use your dandelion greens, give them a good rinse in cold water. The bottom of the stems can be a little tough and bitter so trim those off and add to your compost bin.

Chop them off right where the leaf begins. Give the leaves a nice rough chop all the way up. You can either enjoy them raw in a salad or cooked. If you’re going to put them in a salad I would maybe suggest giving the leaves a little nibble first to see how mild or bitter they are. If they are a little bit bitter consider mixing the leaves with a little butter lettuce or a red leaf variety and then build your salad from there.

Dandelion greens really love big, bold, fat flavors so things like blue cheese, goat cheese, nuts and bacon are a perfect fit, be sure to give your greens a little fat love. When it comes to cooking these greens they love to be steamed, sautéed and braised. Again, they love big bold flavors so things like garlic, soy sauce and big, bold vinegars are really going to compliment these greens.

A personal favorite go to that’s really quick is to sauté your dandelion greens in a little bit of olive oil, fresh garlic and a few hits of soy sauce. Let those greens wilt down and finish it off with a big squish of lemon and voila! Quick and simple.

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