If you follow me on Facebook then you may have seen that I recently signed up for organic produce delivery. It is fabulous! Every other week a box of fresh organic produce, primarily from local farmers, is delivered to my doorstep. I get 13–15 lbs of assorted fruits and vegetables. I though this would be a fun way to start trying some new things.
In this week’s box I got a bunch of red dandelions. Yes, you read that right, dandelions, the very same green that you may consider to be an eye sore in your lawn. I had never known that this nuisance of a weed was edible. Not such a nuisance anymore is it?
According to the USDA dandelion greens rank fourth in leafy greens for overall nutritional value. They are extremely high in vitamins A, B, and C, as well as potassium, iron, and calcium. There is more iron in dandelions than spinach and more cancer fighting beta-carotene than broccoli or carrots. Dandelions have actually been cultivated for medicinal purposes for centuries. It is know to be used as a treatment for liver diseases since it helps to detoxify the body and anemia since it is so high in iron. As if that isn’t reason enough to try this leafy green it also aids in weight loss! Dandelions help to speed up your metabolism and reduce water weight.
So now that we know how fabulous they are for you what on earth do we do with them!?!? Apparently dandelions are popular as an addition to a fresh salad or soup, can be used to make a tea, and are frequently cooked as a side dish. I opted for the latter. The bunch that I recevied was huge. I never knew that they could grow to be so big. The sautéed dandelions were very similar to cooked spinach or red chard with an overlying bitter tinge. I personally love cooked spinach so I liked the dandelions. However, I will say my husband and son were not fans. I’m glad I tried them and can now say I have served my family weeds for dinner. Next time I will probably use them as a veggie in a frittata or omelet rather than on it’s own as a side dish.
Note: While the dandelions that grow in your yard may be edible, they are probably not safe for consumption. Anything that gets put on your grass or soil has to be safe for eating if you are going to harvest them. Unless your yard has been organically cared for over the past 3–4 years your dandelions are not safe to consume. Dandelions safe for consumptions can be found at some local grocery stores and possibly at your local farmer’s markets.
3–4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 bunch of dandelion greens
salt and pepper
half a lemon
- Thoroughly wash and drain your dandelions.
- Roughly chop the leafy greens.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add garlic.
- Cook garlic until soft.
- Add the chopped dandelions to the oil and toss to coat.
- Sauté the dandelions until tender, about 10 minutes or so.
- Season with salt and pepper and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the greens.