The lowly dandelionPosted by in Homelessness
Ahhh…the dandelion! I always find it amusing when people call this plant a weed when in other countries it is recognized as food and medicine! If you want to make a dandelion salad, pick young plants in places dogs haven’t been in or out of lawns and fields that haven’t been sprayed with anything other than water. Not only is this plant highly nutritious, it’s easily recognizable and all of the plant is useful! I pick first year leaves and wash them with water to make a spring salad. Bigger slightly older leaves make a great cooked green that you can spice up with garlic, onions, a little cayenne pepper and even a little butter! My favorite way though, is to make a dandelion salad by topping the fresh young leaves with a sliced boiled egg and every once in a while, bits of real bacon!
You can also make a dandelion omelet by sautéing chopped leaves with a little butter, garlic and onion before adding your eggs! Did you know that dandelion roots are good for you as a boiled vegetable? Take first year roots, wash and scrub them until they are as white as you can get them, boil them in a little salted water until they are soft. At this point I drain the water out and dump them steaming on a plate and add a dab of butter before I dig in but I’ve noticed that every time I eat dandelion, I feel better. That could be because dandelion is high in iron, zinc and vitamins A, B, C and D!
Dandelion roots can also be used as a coffee substitute. The trick here is to pick the bigger older plants for their roots but you’ll probably have to peel the outer rind off with a sharp knife first. Wash the roots then chop roots into small pieces. Then you have to cook them over low and slow dry heat or roast them until they turn dark brown. You then have to grate the roasted roots up so that you can use them just like coffee grounds. If you happen to see dandelion’s blue flowered cousin, chicory, you can use its roots in the same way.
If you really want a “wild” salad, add clover leaves and those tiny field daisies to your dandelion greens. You can also add nasturtium leaves and flowers for a peppery taste along with untreated rose petals. Violets also make a pretty addition to a “wild” salad! You can try to make a simple dressing to go with your dandelion salad with the fruit of an often nearby growing neighbor, blackberries! I usually make wine, pies and jams from blackberries but here’s a simple vinaigrette you can try:
2 handfuls of ripe blackberries
Sweetener to taste, just add a little honey or some raw sugar that’s been melted into a cup of hot water
About a teaspoon of balsamic white vinegar (more or less depending on your taste buds)
¼ cup of either vegetable oil or olive oil
I’m assuming that folks making this recipe are homeless so if you’ve got a Ziploc bag, crush the blackberries inside it until it’s a nice liquid mess. Then add your sweetener, balsamic vinegar and oil. Close the bag and shake, shake, shake it like a Polaroid Pict-cha! If you want to get fancy and can get ahold of some finely diced onion and other herbs to throw in; even better!
Here’s some more helpful links on the often overlooked dandelion: