My mother used to tell me that picking dandelions would lead to wet bedsheets. It was an old wives tale, but like a lot of those, there is some truth in the saying – dandelions are a natural diuretic.
Dandelions have been used by country folk for many generations. The leaves are used in salads and to make teas and the roots make an acceptable and caffeine-free replacement for coffee.
Dandelions are good for digestion and it has been said that they can ease rheumatism or liver problems. They can be eaten whole or divided up. Young dandelion greens can be tossed in salads and cooked like spinach. Leaves should be gathered before the plant blooms as they become increasingly bitter as they age.
Here are some ideas how you may use this ubiquitous herb.
- As an acceptable Pesto used in place of the Basil.
- Added to pasta dishes in place of spinach or parsley.
- In salads along with other salad greens (you can use the flower heads for decoration also).
- Sauteed and used as a replacement for spinach.
- Stir-fried with other vegetables and used in Asian cooking with a little coconut milk.
- As a side dish – braised with Bacon and Kale
- Sprinkled into Scrambled Eggs
- The leaves can be dried and made into a tea – add a little mint for extra flavour…. and don’t drink too much before bedtime!