It’s really a shame most people hate seeing dandelions on their lawns, as the whole plant is edible and has many health benefits. Dandelion leaves have more vitamins and minerals than pretty much any green grown as food.
If you don’t pick them when they’re very young, the leaves will be extremely bitter. Dandelion flowers can be a little bitter, too, and while they do not have as much nutritive value as the rest of the plant, they are still good for you. Bonus, you can make some really fun things with them including wine, fritters, or pancakes.
If you’re not comfortable harvesting dandelions from your lawn, you’ll probably find some growing unsolicited in your garden. Instead of tossing them into the compost, try eating them instead.
Recipe for Dandelion Pancakes
*3/4 cup organic all-purpose flour
*1/4 cup organic cornmeal
*1/2 cup organic milk or milk substitute (you can use up to 1 cup if you want a looser batter)
*1 egg, preferably organic and free-range
*about 30 dandelion flower heads
*pinch of sea salt
*butter or oil for cooking the pancakes
1. In a small bowl, mix the flour(s) with the cornmeal, then whisk in the milk and egg.
2. Mix the dandelion flowers and the salt into the batter.
3. Heat 2-3 tbsp. of butter or oil in a skillet. When it’s nice and hot, drop small rounded spoonfuls of the dandelion batter onto the skillet.
4. Cook the pancakes on one side until brown, then flip over and cook on the other side. When they’re brown on both sides remove them from the skillet and drain on a paper towel.
5. Serve drizzled with maple syrup, honey, jam or with yogurt. If you want them to be savory, try mixing herbs or spices into the batter.
–Winnie Abramson writes the organic gardening and food blog Healthy Green Kitchen.
Photo credits: Winnie Abramson