Culinary and Medicinal Uses of Dandelion Leaf and Root
Dandelion The Wonder Herb
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has been used for thousands of years as an herbal healing plant. They have been used medicinally as far back as the 11th century.
Most people try to eradicate them from their lawns, not knowing what value they have. All parts of the dandelion plant can be used as both herbal medicine, and as food. The flowers can be eaten as boiled buds, or after they open as “fried mushroom” (see recipe below). The juice of the stems can be used to treat and cure warts, and the leaves are delicious in salads.
Grow them, and discover the wonders of this fantastic back yard herb.
Culinary Uses of Dandelion
Here at the farm, we don’t mow them, we grow them. We eat many, and the rest we allow to go to seed for next years crop.
Most people think we are crazy because we allow them to grow, but I don’t think they realize they are missing out on some wonderful wild…and free food.
Boiled Dandelion Buds
Gather the buds after the morning dew has passed. Rinse well. Let soak in water for about 20 minutes. Rinse again. This is to make sure there are no bugs inside.
Boil buds in a pan of water for 20-30 minutes. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste. For a little different twist, you can sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. You can also drizzle a little vinegar and olive oil on them. No matter how you serve them, they are delicious, and good for you.
Boiled/Steamed Dandelion Greens
Dandelion greens can be eaten just like you would spinach.
Boil or steam the greens until soft. Add a touch of salt, pepper and a little butter. You can also add a little vinegar instead.
Pop one of these into your mouth, you would swear you were eating a mushroom.
Pick enough dandelions flower heads to eat. We usually pick about 10 per person. Bring them in the house, and put them in a bowl. Add enough cold water to cover them. Gently slosh them around in the water to remove any sand, or ants. Rinse a few more times in a strainer.
Lay out the flower heads onto a paper towel. This will absorb some of the excess water.
Pour about 1/2 cup of olive oil (or your favorite cooking oil) into a skillet. We like to use a cast iron skillet, but you can use what you have. Heat the oil on medium heat.
Mix together into one bowl:
- Dash salt
- Dash garlic powder
- Dash onion powder
- Dash of pepper
- Dash Parmesan cheese
- Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Â¼ cup flour
- Â¼ cup cornmeal
- Â¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (You may need more as frying goes along)
Note: You can add more or less spice according to your taste buds.
Heat oil in a heavy frying pan on medium heat. You don’t want the heat too high or they will burn.
Dredge the moist flowers in spice mixture.
Add flowers and fry quickly, turning to brown all sides. Serve hot.
You can add some butter to taste.
Candied Dandelion Flowers
Pick a few dandelion flowers and rinse well. Soak them for just a bit in cold water. Drain and rinse again.
Dredge flowers in confectioners sugar.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake in over for about 5 minutes.
Remove from over and let sit.
Dust with a little more sugar.
Pop them in your mouth and enjoy!
Dandelion Greens Salad
Pick young leaves of the dandelion plant. Older leaves are a bit on the tough side.
Wash well. It is best to fill up the sink, or a large bowl and let is sit for awhile. This allows the dirt to settle to the bottom. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear.
You can eat the greens alone, or mix it into your regular salad. You can top it off with your choice of dressing.
We make batches of this every year to give out as gifts as Christmas gifts. Everyone loves it! It is easy to make, just a few simple steps, and you have a great wine for the winter months.
Pick the flowers early in the morning, after the dew has gone. Place the flowers into a large crock or ceramic bowl and pour just enough water over them to cover the heads.
- 1 qt. dandelion blossoms
- 4 qt. water
- 1/2 c. tepid water
- 1 yeast cake
- 1 lb. seedless raisins
- 3 lb. (6 c.) sugar
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange
- Measure a quart of the dandelion blossoms, but do not use any of the stems.
- Put them into a large saucepan with the water and boil for 30 minutes.
- Pour through a strainer, then strain through a cheesecloth into a large pan.
- When cool, add the yeast cake, dissolved in the tepid water, raisins, sugar, lemon and orange, cut into small pieces (including the skins).
- Stir it everyday for 2 weeks, then strain and let settle for a day.
- Now strain carefully through cheesecloth until clean.
- Bottle and seal.
- Best drank in 6 months or more.
Note: Be sure to cork the bottle lightly. If they are corked too tight, the bottles can burst.Happy Wine Making to You!
Other Things I Have Made With Dandelion
To make the following, pick just the flower heads and make an infusion. Follow your favorite syrup or jelly directions.
- Dandelion Syrup-very tasty on pancakes, waffles and vanilla ice cream.
- Dandelion Vanilla Syrup- dandelion syrup with a vanilla bean added to it…yummy.
- Dandelion Jelly- Delicious on a PB&J sandwich. You can also use it on your morning toast.
While most people think of dandelion as a weed that they just soon get rid of, us herbalists know their wonderful herbal healing powers.
Dandelion leaf tea is a wonderful diuretic. A diuretic helps to eliminate excess water from the body. While eliminating water, dandelion also eliminates toxins. Because it contains potassium, dandelion makes a much better diuretic than an over the counter (OTC) medication. An OTC diuretic will quickly deplete potassium, which will cause a whole host of other issues. By using dandelion, you body does not lose it as quickly. Be sure that if you taking dandelion for long periods, that you eat a banana or two a day, or at least substitute it with a potassium supplement.
Dandelion root is considered an herbal bitter, and is a great herb to use for liver support and detox. It is loaded with vitamins and minerals that will help support a liver detox.The herb helps to cleanse and promote health digestion. Dandelion root is one of the best herb for detoxifying the liver, and it can also be used to prevent gall bladder stones.
If your body gets a little constipated, dandelion can be drank as a tea or decoction to encourage your body to eliminate the waste. Other laxative herbs can be used if the constipation is moderate.
Believe it or not, dandelion is great for the skin. Because of it’s detoxifying action, dandelion can help clear up skin rashes, acne and boils.
Research confirms that both the roots and the leaves are a powerful diuretic natural diuretic. This can help clean out the kidneys and promote proper kidney function. Due to it’s potassium content, dandelion is a good choice for a diuretic. OTC diuretics deplete potassium out of the body, and can be harmful.
Dandelion root is used by herbalists to detoxify the body. It helps to detoxify the whole body. In 1999, a study in Japan, showed that dandelion could be used as an anti- cancer agent.
How To Roast Or Dry Dandelion Root
Pick the roots of 2 year or older plants. Younger plants do not have the medicinal properties of the older roots.
Clean them thoroughly. Be sure to get off all dirt.
Cut them up into small to medium pieces. This will help them roast faster.
Roast them in the oven on a low temperature. I usually roast mine on about 300 degrees. Roast until they are completely dry and brittle.
Don’t let them burn!
You can use the roasted and dried roots to make a decoction, or tincture. A decoction is an herbal infused made using roots, stems and berries. A tincture is an herbal medicine that is made using alcohol.
You can also grind them up and make Dandelion Root Coffee. Dandelion coffee, you ask? Yes, dandelion coffee. It has a very Earthy fragrance and taste.
Grind the roots as you would a coffee bean. You can powderize it too if you like. Use one teaspoon per cup. You can also mix it into your regular morning coffee.
How To Make An Herbal Infusion
How To Make Dandelion Tea
By The Cup:
- Heat water to just the boiling point.
- Add one teaspoon of dandelion herb into the cup. Pour hot water over herb. Cover with plate, and let stand 10-15 minutes.
- Drain out herb, add a little honey, sit back and enjoy.
By The Pot:
- Add one teaspoon for every cup. Gently heat the water. When it just starts to come to a boil, shut off the heat.
- Let stand 10-15 minutes.
- Pour into cups using a tea strainer to strain off the herb. Add honey and enjoy.
Note: As an alternative, when you are making it by the cup, you can use a tea ball, or a tea strainer. This way you can skip the straining part.
Cautions of Dandelion
People taking blood thinning medications should not use dandelion leaves.
If you are allergic to dandelions, stay clear.
This article only represents a slight overview. Do not self diagnose, and consult a health care professional well versed in herbs before self treating.
Herbs are natural, but can interact with other medicines, as well as other herbs.