Taraxacum officinale is a perennial herbaceous plant, known by the common names Dandelion, Blowball, Lion’s-tooth, Cankerwort. Dandelions are pesky weeds for gardeners, and a joy for children. It is also one of the most appreciated wild edible plants. Each one of us made a dandelion spring salad, at least once.
Where you can find it?
- Distribution: Circumboreal (Europe, Asia, North America)
- Habitat: everywhere, from 0 to 1700 meters high. A common weed of lawns and cultivated ground. Meadows, grassland, roadsides.
When to harvest?
- Leaves: only in springtime, before blooming: when in flower they become bitter.
- Flowers: anytime
How do I use it?
- Raw Leaves: young leaves in detoxifing spring salads. The older a dandelion plant gets, the more bitter it’s going to taste. Older greens should be blanched or steamed to remove the bitterness.
- Cooked leaves: boiled (5 min) or sauteed with oil. They taste slightly bitter, even when boiled. Perfect pair for rich or starchy flavors as potatoes, aged cheese, bacon, etc. You can use it as a side dish, in savory pies, ravioli and thick vegetable soups. The plants are rich in Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, flavonoids. Dandelion greens have more protein per serving than spinach!
- Buds: delicious substitute for capers, salted or pickled
- Flowers: fritters, faux honey, jam or jelly, wine. They are very sweet and perfumed.
- Roots: boiled as side-dish, roasted roots can be used as a caffeine-free substitute of coffee
Dried leaves and dried roots, to make a infusions. Leaves fresh or frozen (lightly cooked). Rosettes and buds, salted or pickled.
By seed: germination requires (as for others Asteraceae) to be dried before sow. Sow outdoors in early spring. Established plants self–sow fairly readily on bare ground.