How To Cook With Dandelions
Many people know dandelions as the pesky little weed that comes around every year. It is time to consider turning that "pesky weed" into a delicious compliment to your next meal. Since you now know how to forage for dandelions, it's time to put those harvested plants to good use in the kitchen. Here is how we recommend foraging and cooking with dandelions.
Let's begin on the simpler side. While you can make a fresh, amazing salad from the leaves, sautéing dandelion greens are a super simple way to bring out the best of their flavors. Remember to always wash your leaves first. For this recipe, were going to combine our dandelions with onions and minced garlic.
Once the leaves are cleaned, begin to soak the leaves in a pot salted water for 10 minutes. Drain, remove and dry your leaves. Next, bring a pot of salted water up to boil; add your greens and cook for 3-4 minutes or until tender. At the same time, combine olive oil and 1tbsp. of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add ½ a chopped onion and cook until tender. After 5 minutes, add 2 cloves of minced garlic to the skillet. Lastly, add your cooked greens to the skillet; set to medium-high and cook until liquid is evaporated. Salt and pepper to taste and top with parmesan cheese. You now have a simple recipe that makes an amazing side to any entrée.
Dandelion tea has some remarkable health benefits. Lowering blood pressure and regulating blood sugar levels are only to name a few. Luckily for you, tea is super easy to make and nearly anyone can do it.
First, put two cups of clean dandelion flowers into a saucepan (remember to remove the green base of the flowers); add about 4 cups of water and cover it. Bring the water to a boil and then remove it from heat. If you want some extra freshness, add lemon slices to the dandelions. Allow the tea to infuse; this takes around three hours, but you get the best flavor by waiting overnight. After it has infused, strain out the dandelions, and use the remaining water for your tea. Honey is natural and an amazing compliment for dandelion tea as well.
If you want to do something unique with your dandelion roots, try making a dandelion root coffee. It has a very similar taste to a regular coffee without that stronger acidic taste. For this recipe, you'll need about 15 of your freshly gathered dandelion roots. Keep in mind it is best to harvest the roots before the dandelion has flowered. Look for the familiar green spaded leaves. After the dandelion flowers, the roots shrink and become woody as most of the energy is transferred upward to the leaves and flowers.
The first thing you'll want to do is to separate the roots from the greens and cut the smaller stringy parts of the roots off. These are more likely to char or catch fire in the oven and can make a mess. After that, chop your roots into larger chunks (slightly larger than coffee beans). Pre-heat your oven to around 350°- 400°F and bake the roots for 40 minutes. You want the color of the roots to be a dark brown, if they aren't dark enough, your coffee will come out looking like tinted water. Take your roasted roots and place them into a pot with 2 cups of water. If you want to add your own spices to your coffee, now is the time to do it. Cinnamon, fennel seeds, and cardamom go well in this mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Lastly, add the creamer or sweetener of your choice and you have your very own dandelion root coffee. Grab your favorite mug and enjoy!
Hopefully, this gives you a different perspective on dandelions and their uses. If you are interested in slowly integrating dandelion greens into your diet, we recommend throwing them into a smoothie, which will mask the leaf's flavors. It turns out that little yellow weed isn't as bad as you thought. Now go out there and do some more foraging and cooking. For further inspiration on what to do with your dandelions, be sure to visit us at our Minnesota home cooking page on Pinterest.
Happy foraging and cooking, friends!