The Good Side of Dandelions
Dandelions have an awful reputation; we’re brainwashed into thinking the pretty yellow flowers are a nuisance weed we have to battle every year with a toxic herbicide. In fact, they are an edible and very beneficial plant for soil and human health!
Dandelions store nutrients from air, water, and soil in their leaves, which are released into the soil when the leaves die and decompose. Their long roots aerate the soil and enable the plant to accumulate minerals, added to the soil when the plant dies. Dandelions attract beneficial ladybugs and provide early spring pollen for their food.
Dandelions leaves rank in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value and are nature’s richest green vegetable source of beta-carotene and the third richest source of Vitamin A of all foods. The medicinal properties of dandelions are well known and commonly accepted throughout Europe. They act as a tonic and gentle diuretic to purify your blood, cleanse your system, and dissolve kidney stones. They assist in weight reduction and cleanse your skin. They improve your bowel function for both constipation and diarrhea and prevent or lower high blood pressure. The white sap from the stem and root is used as a topical remedy for warts and acne.
Dandelion flowers add color and diversity to the monoculture of the lawn. Who doesn’t feel the nostalgia of blowing dandelion puffs as a child? With a change of heart, dandelions can be seen as a beneficial “wild herb” instead of a weed.
Consider what Emily Dickinson wrote about the dandelion – “Astonishes the grass”.
WILTED WEED SALAD
One person’s weeds are another person’s salad. Many weeds, from violets to dandelions, can be eaten and are just as good as traditional greens and often considered delicacies.
Make sure you do not collect plants that may have been treated with a pesticide or weed-killing spray.
Ingredients and Supplies
• Young dandelion greens
• Wild mustard greens
• Herbal Vinegar
Steam dandelion and mustard greens together.
Serve with herbal vinegar.
Violets, chickweed, mustard greens, purslane, and lamb’s quarters are also edible weeds you can add to your salad for spicy flavor, variety and nutrition to your salad. Violets are rich in Vitamin A and C and purslane is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Chickweed leaves are rich in minerals. A WORD OF CAUTION: Be careful in identifying the weeds, and make sure they are pesticide free!