This spring I have been truly taken with (or perhaps a better way of saying it would be: OBSESSED) with dandelions! Yes the weeds everyone attempts to terminate that spread easily upon crisp green lawns!
These past few years I decided to make a pact with myself, to get in touch with some of my ancestral roots and learn more deeply their simple ways of existence and so, I have been exploring a deep pull within: the vast knowledge of wild edibles!
As a young girl I always told the world that my favourite ‘flower’ was a dandelion. This remark was often met with scoffing or a simply worded statement “Dandelions are not flowers, they are weeds.” I didn’t know the difference, all I knew was that they looked like small puffs of sunshine that occasionally would turn into a fun toy that you could tell the time with. As an adult it has been many years since my dandelion days and I’m thoroughly proud to say they are back!
As a vegan, a vegan cook and a self proclaimed kitchen witch, I have delved deep into the succulent yellow petals of our local friends and from root to tip I have explored all of the wonder this plant provides. Before I move onto the incredible recipe that features this wild edible, the health warrior in me wishes to share some fun facts about these bountiful beauties:
- Dandelions contain fibre, vitamins A, C , K, E, folate, small amounts of B vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
- You can consume the roots, the flower and the leaves!
- Dandelion has been used for thousands of years in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
- Dandelion is most commonly used as a liver remedy, diuretic and cholekinetic (increases stomach bile)
- Dandelions are also used as a digestive aid for diseases of the mammary glands, abscesses, ulcerations and swollen lymph glands.
They also can taste incredible! As a general rule the younger greens are less bitter and are great in salads or blanched as a side. The root can be roasted and drank with hot water as a coffee substitute. The heads can be added to salads, dressings, dips or even tempura them and add to a stir fry or salad. I have also added the yellow flowers to breads, baked goods, pancakes, coconut yogurt…you name it! Yet my favourite way to use these high mineral powerhouses is to make traditional Scandinavian dandelion honey! This is very simple, delicious and a great way to add a little sweetness to your desserts, morning pancakes and beverages.
- 2 cups of dandelion heads (presoaked in water, 1 tbsp vinegar for 10min and strained)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 lemon
- Organic sugar of choice
In a medium sized pot cover the lemon, vanilla and 2 cups of dandelion heads with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15min, allow to cool and place in an airtight container in the fridge overnight to infuse. Next day strain out the solids using a nut milk bag or strainer. Measure the liquid you have in a jug, typically it should be around 1.5 – 2 cups. Match the same ratio with your organic sugar of choice. Bring the dandy liquid and sugar to a boil. Keep a close eye on it until it gets thicker and turns a deeper colour (around 15min.) Once finished add to a clean jar, you can store this in the refrigerator for about 1 month and enjoy in any way you please!
It tastes remarkably like honey, is a sweeter rich in vitamins and minerals and just might be the best thing you have ever tried on pancakes!
Enjoy your fine and dandy syrup !
by Leala Selina
Instagram: @theplayfulmoon Hashtag: #eatrealrainbows🌈